People expect a lot from verbs:
God. Theater. Love. Life. That’s asking an awful, don’t you think? So let’s ratchet it down a notch or two and just say that verbs are really, really important. In fact, a brain-imaging study conducted at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, showed that the brain’s motor cortex responds to merely reading action words like active verbs. Verbs, in other words, stimulate readers, kickstart their imagination, draw them in, compel them to think.
And yet despite their significance to quality writing, we often hide them by turning them into nouns, adding suffixes like “tion,” “sion,” “ance,” and “ment”: discontinue becomes the discontinuation of, apply becomes the application of, achieve becomes achievement, and on and on. Worse, these new nouns often need an extra verb to make sense. They also go hand in hand with passive verbs and combine to make us sound like complete blowhards. We end up writing “make an application for a personal loan,” for instance,” rather than “apply for a personal loan."
Identifying and rectifying these hidden verbs will make your writing more powerful and in the moment. To do this you first need to identify a phrase or sentence’s "verbal essence."
Take this sentence: You must make an application in writing to join our group.
Here’s another: With the government’s decision that agreements between the public and private sectors are to be allowed, an explosion of activity has occurred.
Sensitizing yourself to these hidden verbs will make your writing more robust and compelling. They may not bring you any closer to God or to doing the perfect plié or grand jeté, but if nothing else they’ll rev up your reader's motor cortex, and that’s something right there.