Verbal Noun: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what a verbal noun is? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on verbal nouns, including the definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is a verbal noun?

According to Grammar Monster, a verbal noun is a noun that has no verb-like properties despite being derived from a verb. This is different from deverbal nouns as well as a gerund, which is a noun-acting verb ending in ing or a present participle and past participle. Verbal nouns can still be modified by adjectives. A verbal noun can be formed in a number of ways, often by adding a suffix to the base form of the verb. With the many different ways of forming different types of verbal noun, we get words like accordance, bibliography, capability, transitivity, brisk walking, awful decision, referee, smoking, and more. Learning these English grammar lesson about the kinds of nouns you might encounter is a good exercise. See if you can spot verbal nouns online, like on facebook or Twitter.

Many different languages also contain words that mean verbal. You may notice that some of these translations of verbal look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of verbal is provided by Word Sense

  •  Greek: λεκτικός‎
  •  Swedish: verbal‎
  •  Romanian: verbal‎ (masc.), oral‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: verbaal‎
  •  French: verbal‎
  •  Catalan: verbal‎
  •  German: wörtlich‎, verbal‎
  •  Czech: slovní‎ (masc.)
  •  Macedonian: зборовен‎ (zbóroven)
  •  Spanish: verbal‎
  •  Portuguese: verbal‎ (masc.), (fem.)
  •  Hindi: शाब्दिक‎ (śābdik)
  •  Polish: słowny‎, werbalny‎
  •  Russian: слове́сный‎, верба́льный‎
  •  Volapük: vödik‎

What is an example of a verbal noun?

A verbal noun can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are many easy examples of verbal nouns from Pediaa and Grammar Monster that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use.  

  •  Kill – Killing – He condoned the killing of innocent women.
  •  Decide – Decision – Her decision affects all of us.
  •  Arrive – Arrival – His arrival was delayed by 3 hours.
  •  Destruct – Destruction – He was arrested for the destruction of property and the device.
  •  Read – Reading – Second reading of the book gave us some new information.
  •  Narrate – Narration – Her narration of the story saddened us all.
  •  Repeat – Repetition – I don’t approve the repetition of yesterday’s faults.
  •  Return – Return – We are anxiously waiting for your return with the cookies.
  •  Depart – Departure – Her departure saddened us all.
  •  Build – Building – It was a lovely building. The money will fund the building of a bridge.
  •  Arrive – Arrival – Their arrival has been delayed.
  •  Attack – Attack – He mounted a surprise attack with the Romans.

Below are some more example sentences from Thought Co.:

  •  “The atmosphere at home had become difficult as we approached our opening of the Shrew.” (Sian Phillips, Public Places. Faber & Faber, 2003)
  •  “Margureitte Radcliffe’s afternoon testimony was taken up with her typing of the confession, the choice of paper, the crossed-out portions, the manner in which she had inserted the paper into the typewriter–all questions from Andy Weathers.”  (Ann Rule, Everything She Ever Wanted. Simon & Schuster, 1992)
  •  The building of the British Empire may be said to have begun with the ascent of Queen Elizabeth to the throne. 
  •   (Susan Shillinglaw, Introduction to A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck. Penguin, 1999)
  •  “The dead might as well try to speak to the living as the old to the young.”  (Willa Cather, One of Ours, 1922)
  •  “Even in fiction, the Joads’ misery is best captured in vignettes: Ma’s colloquies with Rose of Sharon, the rollicking dance at the government camp, Uncle John’s sending the dead baby down the river, images easily translated into film.” 
  •  His acting the part of Othello was distinguished by a breadth and grandeur that placed it far beyond the efforts of other actors.

What are synonyms and antonyms of verbal?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word verbal. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful tool to know in the English language because they can help people to avoid repeating themselves while simultaneously growing their vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word verbal is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  enunciated
  •  told
  •  verbatim
  •  unwritten
  •  choral
  •  nuncupative
  •  textual
  •  prolix
  •  speech
  •  literal
  •  lexical
  •  vocalic
  •  vowel
  •  viva voce
  •  expressed
  •  vocabular
  •  parol
  •  unrecorded
  •  verbally
  •  said
  •  spoken
  •  conversational
  •  linguistic
  •  unformulated
  •  wordy
  •  intonated
  •  word-of-mouth
  •  lingual
  •  oral
  •  word
  •  uttered
  •  phrasal
  •  orally
  •  oral examination
  •  by word of mouth
  •  aurally
  •  rhetorical
  •  tacit
  •  word-for-word
  •  stated
  •  speaking
  •  vocal
  •  articulated
  •  pronounced
  •  grammatical
  •  sounded
  •  voiced
  •  viva
  •  verbalized
  •  talkative

The word verbal also has a number of antonyms, or opposite words. These words have the opposite definition as the word spectrum. Learning antonyms is another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms of verbal is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  derive
  •  arse kissing
  •  silent
  •  arse-kissing
  •  assign
  •  eyewash
  •  anal
  •  ass kissing
  •  arse licking
  •  puppet show
  •  apple-polishing
  •  bum-sucking
  •  positive feedback
  •  brown nosing
  •  compose
  •  diagrammatic
  •  numerical
  •  describe
  •  brownnosing
  •  buttering up
  •  draw
  •  sweet-talking
  •  erroneous
  •  allegorical
  •  correspond
  •  bootlicking
  •  cotton candy words
  •  good review
  •  excellent feedback
  •  deliver
  •  create
  •  ass-licking
  •  arse-licking
  •  ass licking
  •  taciturn
  •  brown-nosing
  •  applause mail
  •  concise
  •  incorrect
  •  warm approval
  •  static
  •  blind faith
  •  ass-kissing
  •  black and white
  •  dense
  •  good feedback
  •  solecistic
  •  uncommunicative
  •  written
  •  ungrammatical

Overall, a verbal noun is 


  1. What are Verbal Nouns – Grammar | Pediaa 
  2. verbal: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. Verbal Noun – Definition and Examples | Thought Co. 
  4. Verbal antonyms – 82 Opposites of Verbal | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Verbal synonyms – 392 Words and Phrases for Verbal | Power Thesaurus 
  6. Verbal Nouns | What Are Verbal Nouns? | Grammar Monster