Command Words & Action Verbs
Command Words & Action Verbs
Command words or action verbs, are the words and phrases used in exams and other assessment tasks that tell students how they should answer the question.
How command words / action verbs are used may vary from subject to subject.
Some common command words / action verbs used in examinations include the following:
Analyse - study or examine something in detail, break down something in order to bring out the essential elements or structure; identify parts and relationships, and interpret information to reach conclusions .
Assess - judge, evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of something .
Calculate - obtain a numerical answer showing the relevant stages in the working.
Classify - group things based on common characteristics.
Compare - give an account of the similarities and/or differences between two (or more) items or situations, referring to both/all of them throughout.
Complete - finish making or doing; bring to a successful conclusion.
Comment - present an informed opinion.
Consider - describe patterns in data; use knowledge and understanding to interpret patterns, make predictions and check reliability.
Construct - develop information in a diagrammatic or logical form; not by factual recall but by analogy or by using and putting together. information.
Demonstrate - prove or make clear by reasoning or evidence, illustrating with examples or practical application.
Describe - develop a detailed picture or image of, for example a structure or a process, using words or diagrams where appropriate; produce a plan, simulation or model.
Develop - progress or improve to become more mature, advanced, or elaborate.
Devise - plan, create or formulate a procedure or system by careful thought.
Differentiate - recognise or ascertain what makes something different.
Discuss - offer a considered, balanced review that includes a range of arguments, factors or hypotheses*; opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by appropriate evidence.
Distinguish - make the differences between two or more concepts or items clear.
Evaluate (data) - collect and examine data to make judgments and appraisals; describe how evidence supports or does not support a conclusion in an inquiry or investigation; identify the limitations of data in conclusions; make judgments about ideas, solutions or methods.
Evaluate (make a judgement) - collect and examine evidence to make judgments and appraisals; describe how evidence supports or does not support a judgement; identify the limitations of evidence in conclusions; make judgments about ideas, solutions or methods.
Explain - give a detailed account, including reasons or causes.
Examine - consider an argument or concept (idea) in a way that uncovers the assumptions and relationships of the issue.
Identify - recognise patterns, facts, or details; provide an answer from a number of possibilities; recognise and state briefly a distinguishing fact or feature.
Justify - give valid reasons or evidence to support an answer or conclusion. (e.g. justify your answer) .
Propose - put forward a plan or suggestion for consideration. (e.g. propose an alternative title to a text).
Recommend - put forward something with approval as being suitable for a particular purpose. (e.g. recommend solutions to a problem or an issue).
State - provide a concise statement with little or no supporting argument.
Suggest - propose a solution, hypothesis or other possible answer.
Verify - give evidence to support the truth of a statement.
(* Hypothesis - A hypothesis is an idea about how something works that can be tested using experiments. A prediction says what will happen in an experiment if the hypothesis is correct.)