Getting into an elite college has never been more cutthroat. Last year, Harvard’s admissions rate dipped to a record low, with only 5.3% of applicants getting an acceptance letter. Stanford’s rate was even lower, at 5.05%.
These days, it takes more than impressive grades, a full roster of extracurriculars, and a deep commitment to community service to get into a well-ranked school. Experts say that a stellar essay is the linchpin that will win the admissions department over. But what is less well known is that different colleges favor particular topics and even specific words used in essays.
This is a key finding from AdmitSee, a startup that invites verified college students to share their application materials with potential applicants. High school students can pay to access AdmitSee’s repository of successful college essays, while college students who share their materials receive a small payment every time someone accesses their data. “The biggest differentiator for our site is that college students who share their information are compensated for their time,” Stephanie Shyu, cofounder of AdmitSee, tells Fast Company. “This allows them to monetize materials that they have sitting around. They can upload their file and when they check back in a few months later, they might have made several hundred dollars.”
Shyu says that this model has allowed AdmitSee to collect a lot of data very rapidly. The company is only a year old and just landed $1.5 million in seed funding from investors such asFounder.org and The Social + Capital Partnership. But in this short time, AdmitSee has already gathered 15,000 college essays in their system. Many are from people who got into well-ranked colleges, since they targeted these students first. The vast majority of these essays come from current college students who were admitted within the last two or three years.
AdmitSee has a team that analyzes all of these materials, gathering both qualitative and quantitative findings. And they’ve found some juicy insights about what different elite colleges are looking for in essays. One of the most striking differences was between successful Harvard and Stanford essays. (AdmitSee had 539 essays from Stanford and 393 from Harvard at the time of this interview, but more trickle in every day.) High-achieving high schoolers frequently apply to both schools—often with the very same essay—but there are stark differences between what their respective admissions departments seem to want.
What Do You Call Your Parents?
The terms “father” and “mother” appeared more frequently in successful Harvard essays, while the term “mom” and “dad” appeared more frequently in successful Stanford essays.
Harvard Likes Downer Essays
AdmitSee found that negative words tended to show up more on essays accepted to Harvard than essays accepted to Stanford. For example, Shyu says that “cancer,” “difficult,” “hard,” and “tough” appeared more frequently on Harvard essays, while “happy,” “passion,” “better,” and “improve” appeared more frequently in Stanford essays.
This also had to do with the content of the essays. At Harvard, admitted students tended to write about challenges they had overcome in their life or academic career, while Stanford tended to prefer creative personal stories, or essays about family background or issues that the student cares about. “Extrapolating from this qualitative data, it seems like Stanford is more interested in the student’s personality, while Harvard appears to be more interested in the student’s track record of accomplishment,” Shyu says.
With further linguistic analysis, AdmitSee found that the most common words on Harvard essays were “experience,” “society,” “world,” “success,” “opportunity.” At Stanford, they were “research,” “community,” “knowledge,” “future” and “skill.”
What the Other Ivies Care About
It turns out, Brown favors essays about volunteer and public interest work, while these topics rank low among successful Yale essays. In addition to Harvard, successful Princeton essays often tackle experiences with failure. Meanwhile, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania tend to accept students who write about their career aspirations. Essays about diversity—race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation—tend to be more popular at Stanford, Yale, and Brown.
Based on the AdmitSee’s data, Dartmouth and Columbia don’t appear to have strong biases toward particular essay topics. This means that essays on many subjects were seen favorably by the admissions departments at those schools. However, Shyu says that writing about a moment that changed the student’s life showed up frequently in essays of successful applicants to those schools.
Risk-Taking Pays Off
One general insight is that students who take risks with the content and the structure of their college essays tend to be more successful across the board. One student who was admitted to several top colleges wrote about his father’s addiction to pornography and another wrote about a grandparent who was incarcerated, forcing her mother to get food stamps illegally. Weird formats also tend to do well. One successful student wrote an essay tracking how his credit card was stolen, making each point of the credit card’s journey a separate section on the essay and analyzing what each transaction meant. Another’s essay was a list of her favorite books and focused on where each book was purchased.
“One of the big questions our users have is whether they should take a risk with their essay, writing about something that reveals very intimate details about themselves or that takes an unconventional format,” Shyu says. “What we’re finding is that successful essays are not ones that talk about an accomplishment or regurgitate that student’s résumé . The most compelling essays are those that touch on surprising personal topics.”
Of course, one caveat here is that taking a risk only makes sense if the essay is well-executed. Shyu says that the content and structure of the story must make a larger point about the applicant, otherwise it does not serve a purpose. And it goes without saying that the essay must be well-written, with careful attention paid to flow and style.
Shyu says that there are two major takeaways that can be taken from the company’s data. The first is that it is very valuable for applicants to tailor their essays for different schools, rather than perfecting one essay and using it to apply to every single school. The second is that these essays can offer insight into the culture of the school. “The essays of admitted students are also a reflection of the community at these institutions,” Shyu says. “It can provide insight into whether or not the school is a good fit for that student.”
A final tip? If you want to go to Harvard and write about your parents, make sure to address them as “mother” and “father.”
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There is nothing wrong with using the word said in written dialogue. Be careful not to treat the word said as a word to be avoided. Well written dialogue should never rely on tags such as the ones below, but should convey its own attitude. When using words instead of said, be sure you utilize them properly. For example, you cannot laugh and talk, or sneeze and talk at the same time. “That is so funny, laughed Bob,” should not be used. A person can laugh before or after they speak, but not while they speak. Think about how your character is going to speak and the emotion that they are experiencing. Think it out before you write it down. Let me give you some examples. The following sentence does not use the word said:
“I hate you,” spat Bob in disgust. Now think about that sentence. Can a person spit in disgust and speak at the same time?
Watch what happens this time when I use the word said and describe Bob's actions:
“I hate you,” said Bob as he clenched his fists. His lips snarled with rage as he stormed out the room, vowing never to return.
Here is another example where the word said works just fine:
“Do have some more gravy, Bob,” said Darla, spooning it out herself.
For dialogue to be effective it must appear to be realistic. The person reading your story must believe that your characters actually talk this way. You should use dialogue to reveal insights into characters, set the mood, and even to clarify plot points. I was once told that when writing dialogue, to think of it as action. Use dialogue to make something happen.
You may notice that some words on the list below cannot be used as replacements for said. These words have been added to assist you to enhance your dialogue and make it more descriptive. For example, the word “quietly” cannot be used instead of said, but it can enhance your dialogue.
Ms. Maple covered her lips with her index finger until she had the attention of the entire class. “Let's use our inside voices,” she said quietly.
The words below are classified by emotion to make the list easier to use. Keep in mind that some words could be used in several categories such as “gasped” which could express either fear or surprise.
Words in the list that have hyperlinks and chat bubbles 💬 can be clicked to display a pop-up box with an example. Be sure to visit the examples page to see the complete list of how to use some of these words. The definitions used in the examples came from www.dictionary.com. Be sure to use your dictionary for more definitions.
Use the list below carefully and remember that there is nothing wrong with using the word said in dialogue.
|The emotion of ANGER 😠|
(adjective) to charge with a fault, offense, or crime.“Professor Plum murdered Colonel Mustard!” accused Miss Peacock.
(verb) to contend in oral disagreement; dispute.“I do to know what I am talking about!” Wayne argued.
(verb) to state with assurance, confidence, or force; state strongly or positively; affirm“How dare you accuse me of stealing your necklace! I did not steal it and you know it!” Sheila asserted.
(verb) to harass or urge persistently; pester; nag.“Why are you not responding?” She badgered, poking him in the ribs. (submitted by Rhianna H.)
(verb) to speak or cry out sharply or gruffly.“Sit down and eat your super!” barked Tom's father.
(verb) to utter in a loud deep voice.
“Everyone get down and give me 20 pushups!” bellowed the gym teacher.
(verb) to engage in petulant or peevish argument.“Well, you didn't say that we had to do page four!” Camile bickered. (submitted by Elsa N.)
(verb) to scold, rebuke, or reprimand.“You should never talk back to your mother,” Lucy chastised, pulling Tony away by his ear. (submitted by Jackie L.)
(verb) to express disapproval of; scold; reproach.“It's not your hair that needs to be brushed, it's your teeth that need it,” chided Mary as she watched her husband in the mirror.
(adjective) having short, sharp vowel sounds and clear pronunciation.“Flattery will get you nowhere,” he clipped. (submitted by Potato F.)
(noun) a short, low sound that is used to show disapproval or sympathy.“I am so mad that you went and did exactly what I told you not to do!” Alan shook his head and clucked his tongue in disaprovement.
(verb) to direct with specific authority or prerogative; order.“Go to your room now!” Ralph's dad commanded.
(verb) to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault.“Why do I always have to do the dishes? It's not fair,” Taylor complained.
(verb) to set or make true, accurate, or right; remove the errors or faults.“What do you mean, I never take out the trash? I do it every week.” Phylis' husband corrected.
(noun) a statement or action made to refute, oppose, or nullify another statement or action.“I did to clean my room!” countered Billy.
(noun) the expression of a wish that misfortune, evil, doom, etc., befall a person, group, etc.“I hate you and I hope you never get another girfriend ever!” cursed Jane as she stormed away from her exboyfriend.
(verb) to challenge or provoke a person into a demonstration of courage; defy.“Go ahead and punch me, you coward!” Jason dared his older brother.
(verb) to ask for with proper authority; claim as a right.“You had better explain yourself, young man!” demanded Phil's mother as she observed the clothing strewn about his bedroom.
(verb) to differ in opinion; dissent.“There is no scientific evidence that supports global warming and you know it!” disagreed Kyle as he shook his head at the ignorance of his friend.
(verb) to irritate or provoke high degree; annoy extremely.“This is the last time I help you,” exasperated Maddison as she sighed heavily. (submitted by Maddy & David)
(verb) to burst forth violently or emotionally, especially with noise, laughter, or violent speech.“You told me this report was finished last Friday!” exploded Bob. “You haven't even started on it!”
(verb) to show fretful irritation or anger.“What do you mean that you're going to be late again?” fumed Melissa.
(verb) to make insulting, taunting, heckling, or jeering remarks.“Still afraid of the dark, aren't you!” gibed Tom at Sam's cowardice.
(verb) to cause someone to do something by being annoying.“Come on you ninny, hit me in the face,” goaded Stan as he glared angrily at Phil.
(verb) to murmur or complain angrily; grumble.“I dsagree wth the professor. I think 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is a classic that everyone should read,” growled William.
(verb) to murmur or mutter in discontent; complain sullenly.“My boyfriend hasn't texted me in two days,” grumbled Julie.
(adjective) grim or unpleasantly severe; stern; cruel; austere.“You're a fool, boy!” Randall said harshly. (submitted by Bridgette H.)
(verb) to make a sharp sibilant sound: to express disapproval.“I said to leave me alone,” he hissed.
(verb) to cry aloud; shout or yell.“Hey, stop that thief! He just stole my purse!” Anne hollered.
(noun) a cry or wail, as of pain, rage, or protest.“Ow!” howled Tom. “When I catch you I am going to beat you silly!” Tom rubbed the back of his neck where his little brother's pea shooter had hit him, and ran off after him.
(verb) to take offense; speak indignantly.“Oh, so now you think I'm wrong!” huffed Sam.
(verb) to treat or speak to insolently or with contemptuous rudeness; affront.“Betty isn't just plain, she's ugly, and I don't like her,” insulted Samantha.
(verb) to stop (a person) in the midst of doing or saying something, especially by an interjected remark.“Just stop what you're saing right now!” the teacher interruted. “This is the third time this week you've forgotten your homework!”
(verb) to speak or shout derisively; scoff or gibe rudely.“You're the worst actor I've ever seen!” jeered Thomas. “Get off the stage now!”
(verb) to utter indistinctly or in a low tone.“Just because mom likes you best doesn't mean that anyone else likes you!” muttered Gina softly enough that her sister couldn't hear.
(verb) to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands.“For the umpteenth time, take out the garbage! How many times do I have tell you?” nagged Kens wife.
(verb) to offer a reason or argument in opposition.“I did not hit Bob first, he hit me first,” objected Tim as his mother started to scold him.
(noun) an authoritative direction or instruction; command; mandate.“Go to your room right now!” ordered Frank's dad.
(verb) to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex.“You couldn't lift a one pound weight with those scrawny arms,” provoked Jim as he watched Dale struggle at the weight machine.
(noun) a sharp, sarcastic remark; a cutting jest.“Do I think Jason is smart? I've met rocks that are smarter than him,” quipped Alfred.
(noun) a fit of violent anger.“Put down my cup!” raged David's dad as he attempted to steal the last of the delicious juice. (submitted by Maddy & David)
(intransitive verb) to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner.“You had better not talk to me Peter Davidson. And that goes for you to Bob, and Steve, and Carl,” ranted Jillian.
(verb) to return like for like, especially evil for evil.“You are an insignificant fool!” she retaliated. (submitted by Arden G.)
(intransitive verb) to answer back, usually sharply.“What a fine chemistry lab partner you are!” Gus retorted, but the tone of his voice made it obvious that he did not mean it.
(intransitive verb) to utter a loud, deep cry or howl, as in excitement, distress, or anger.“What do you mean, you wrecked my car!” Paul roared.
(transitive verb) rude or disrespectful back talk.“I don't care what you want me to do. I am not going to eat my beets!” sassed Sally at the dinner table.
(intransitive verb) to speak with intense or hysterical emotion.“I don't ever want to see you again!” screamed Holly at her now ex-boyfriend.
(verb) to speak derisively; mock; jeer.“Is that the best you can do? I thought I taught you better than that!” scoffed Pete as his younger brother sung the bat and missed the ball.
(verb) to find fault with angrily; chide; reprimand.“Your homework is late again. You know that you are supposed to turn it in on time,” scolded Ralph's teacher.
(verb) to have a gloomy or threatening look.“I'm really mad at Marissa right now. She insulted me just to be popular.” scowled Gloria, even though Marissa was her best friend. (submitted by Nora D.)
(verb) to be in a state of agitation or excitement.“You'd never understand how you truly anger me!” Jax seethed in white hot anger. (submitted by Brianna L.)
(noun) a remark aimed at some person or thing.“Jason is such a nerd!” shot Wilson as he and his friend looked into the computer lab.
(transitive verb) to utter in a loud voice.“Alvin! It's time to come in and wash up for dinner!” shouted Mary from the back door.
(adjective) high-pitched and piercing in sound quality.“You did what?” shrilled Mark's mother.
(verb) to utter a quick, sharp sentence or speech, especially a command, reproof, retort, etc.“Get back here right now, young man!” snapped Bill's dad.
(verb) to speak in a surly or threatening manner suggestive of a dog's snarl.“You'll pay for this!” snarled the old man as he watched the kids running down the street, away from his broken window.
(verb) to speak or write in a manner expressive of rdicule, contempt, or scorn.“You think you're so smart, getting accepted into Harvard. But you're not! You're not,” sneered Larry.
(verb) to talk rapidly and somewhat incoherently, as when confused, excited, or embarrassed.“I can't believe you broke the window again! This is the third time in a a a a month ... I I I just get so angry ... oh just wait until your father gets home!” spluttered Jim's mother as she waved her hands in the air.
(verb) to rage or complain with violence or fury.“You said I was your best friend, not Jill. I hate you! I hate you!” stormed Leah.
(verb) to affirm, assert, or say with solemn earnestness.“Mark my words; I will get even with you!” swore Lonnie.
(verb) to reproach in a sarcastic, insulting, or jeering manner; mock.“You couldn't win a game of tennis if you're life depended on it!” taunted Gary from the sideline.
(verb) to indicate impending evil or mischief.“If you tell mom or dad that I stole this radio, you'll be sorry!” threatened Joe.
(verb) to admonish or exhort, as to action or conduct.“Be on time tomorrow, or you're fired!” warned her boss.
(verb) to cry out or speak with a strong, loud, clear sound; shout.“Get out of here!” he yelled. “The house is on fire!” (submitted by Amelia W.)
|The emotion of FEAR 😱|
(verb) to talk idly, irrationally, excessively, or foolishly; chatter or prattle.
“Oh my gosh, it's so awesome, and I got it at FAO Schwartz last year, and I wish you could share it with me...” Phil babbled. (submitted by Mia M.)
(verb) to ask humbly or earnestly.
“Please don't make me eat the beets; they make me gag.” Mandy begged.
(verb) to own or admit as true.
“Please don't tell any spooky stories. I'm afraid of the dark,” confessed Randy as he nervously looked around at the shadows being cast by the campfire.
(verb) to speak with a low, rasping voice.
“Don't leave me here alone,” he tried to cry out, but it only came out as a croak.
(verb) to state that (something declared or believed to be true) is not true.
“I am not afraid of the dark,” Randy denied.
(verb) to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
“I know where I am going,” said Tom as he steered the car onto the dark street. “I don't think you do,” Lisa doubted as she nervously looked out the window.
(verb) to become vexed (distressed) or worried.
“I know that I studied for this exam, but I'm not sure I'm ready,” fretted Shirley as she watched the teacher place the exam on her desk.
(verb) to utter a deep, mournful sound expressive of pain or grief.
“I know that Mom said there were no monsters under my bed, but I can still hear them,” groaned Tommy as he pulled the sheets up over his head.
(verb) to suppress, subdue, or choke back as if by swallowing.
“Oh no!” gulped Ralph. “I think the teacher just caught me cheating on the exam.”
(verb) to beg urgently or piteously, as for aid or mercy; beseech; entreat.
“Please, please, don't make me go into the haunted house; I don't like it there,” implored Tim as he and his brother walked up to the old abanded shack.
(noun) a prolonged, low, inarticulate sound uttered from or as if from physical or mental suffering.
“I failed another test. What am I going to tell my parents?” moaned Christopher.
(verb) to breathe hard and quickly, as after exertion.
“Nick, wait! Wait up!” Shelby panted, running towards him. (submitted by Wenny W.)
|pleaded (pled) 💬|
(verb) to appeal or entreat earnestly.
“Please, Dad, can we go out to eat tonight, please?” pleaded Timmy.
(verb) to offer devout petition, praise, thanks, etc., to (God or an object of worship).
“Please, God, don't let me fail this exam,” prayed Heather.
(verb) to sound, speak, or sing tremulously. (Tremulous is defined as: characterized by or affected with trembling or tremors.)
“Mom, the monsters are still under my bed,” quavered Tommy.
(verb) to cry out sharply in a high voice.
“I just saw a ghost!” shrieked Linda.
(verb) to read, speak, or sing hurriedly and carelessly.
Abigail walked to the front of the class to give her oral book report. She became nervous as she noticed that everyone was looking at at her. Hands shaking in fear, she looked down at her report and started to speak. “My book report is on The House of Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne,” Abigail slurred.
(verb) to utter or make a short shrill cry or noise.
“What was that noise?” squeaked Faye as she glanced nervously around the dark room.
(noun) a somewhat prolonged, sharp, shrill cry, as of pain, fear, or surprise.
“There's a cockroach in the sink!” squealed Debbie as she ran out of the kitchen.
(verb) to speak with involuntary breaks and pauses, or with spasmodic repetitions of syllables or sounds.
“Oh my goodness! There's a a a g g g ghost standing in the the the hallway!” stammered Clyde as he pointed at the eerie figure.
(verb) to speak in such a way that the rhythm is interrupted by repetitions, blocks or spasms, or prolongations of sounds or syllables, sometimes accompanied by contortions of the face and body.
“I d d don't want to go down th th there. I'm a a a afraid of th th the dark,” stuttered Sam as he stood at the top of the stairs looking down into the dark basement.
(verb) to cry with low, plaintive, broken sounds.
“Please, Dad, don't make me go to the dentist. I don't like it there,” Marsha whimpered.
(verb) to snivel or complain in a peevish, self-pitying way.
“There’s no way you can just leave and forget about me,” Terry whined in anguish. (submitted by Brianna L.)
(verb) to talk softly and privately.
“I don't like him,” whispered Bob. (submitted by Julie D.)
(verb) to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.
“What if she doesn't like me, or thinks that I'm boring? What will I do if I say the say the wrong thing?” worried Jay as he prepared for his first date with Brenda.
“What will happen if I get caught?” worried Bill as he placed the stolen money in his pocket.
|The emotion of DISGUST 😝|
(intransitive verb) to recoil in distaste.
“Ew, I hate tuna,” Riley cringed. (submitted by Cameron B.)
(noun) a facial expression, often ugly or contorted, that indicates disapproval, pain, etc.
“Just stitch me up and let's get out of here,” he grimaced, his face vainly trying to conceal the pain. (submitted by Rhianna H.)
(verb) to grumble, as in discontent.
“I really hate that teacher!” grunted Randy as he left the classroom on his way to the Principle's office.
(verb) to treat with ridicule or contempt.
“Sure you do,” he mocked, rolling his eyes. “You know everything.” (submitted by Tara N.)
(verb) to utter with a grating sound.
“You make me sick to my stomach,” rasped Avery as he turned and walked away.
(verb) to decline to accept (something offered).
“There's no way I'd ever go out on a date with you,” refused Odette as she turned and walked haughtily away from Andy.
(verb) to smile in an affected, smug, or offensively familiar way.
“I got you good that time,” smirked Ivan.
(verb) to show disdain, contempt.
“I never really liked you anyway!” sniffed Regina.
(verb) to express scorn, anger, indignation, or surprise by a snort.
“As if I'd ever believe anything that you'd have to say,” snorted Bill.
|The emotion of HAPPINESS 😃|
(verb) to speak or think favorably of; pronounce or consider agreeable or good; judge favorably.
“Oh my goodness Cindy, I love your new haircut!” approved Emily.
(verb) to smile radiantly or happily.
“Look everybody, Dad got me a puppy!” beamed Chrissy.
(verb) to speak, move, issue forth, or exist in a lively, sparkling manner; exude cheer.
“We're going to Disneyland! We're going to Disneyland!” bubbled Danny as he excitedly ran around the room.
(verb) to give sudden expression to or as if to emotion.
“I love you Aiden!” burst Emma. (submitted by Emma L.)
(verb) to laugh in a shrill, broken manner.
“You'll never escape!” she cackled. (submitted by Rhianna H.)
(verb) to converse in a familiar or informal manner.
“I had a quiz in math today, which I got an “A” on, by the way. And Jessica, who sits next to me in English class, was sick today,” chatted Helga at the dinner table.
(verb) to talk rapidly in a foolish or purposeless way; jabber.
“I started off with breakfast this morning and after that I played video games all morning. Then I ate lunch and after that I played video games all afternoon. Then I ate supper and after that I played video games some more. All in all, it's been a very good day,” chattered James as he got ready for bed.
(verb) a shout of encouragement, approval, congratulation, etc.
“Way to go Wayne!” cheered Lily as she watched her boyfriend cross the finish line first.
(verb) to say something in a lively and cheerful way.
“Come sit down,” she chirped, as she scooted over, leaving me a seat. (submitted by Tatum P.)
(verb) to chuckle gleefully.
“Aw, you try so hard to impress me!” I chortled in joy. (submitted by Brianna L.)
(verb) simultaneous utterance in singing, speaking, shouting, etc.
“We won!” chorused Bill with the rest of the crowd at the conclusion of the basketball game.
(verb) to laugh softly or amusedly, usually with satisfaction.
Hank walked out of the classroom, softly closing the door behind him. He glanced up and down the hallway, making sure that no one saw him, and chuckled. “This will be the best practical joke ever.”
(verb) an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration.
“You look nice today,” complimented Ben. (submitted by Nathaniel F.)
(verb) to express pleasure to (a person), as on a happy occasion.
“Here's to our good friend, Randolph, who finally got engaged to Elizabeth,” congratulated Ben.
(verb) to murmur or talk fondly or amorously.
“You are such a beautiful baby,” cooed grandmother as she leaned over the crib.
(verb) to gloat, boast, or exult.
“Woo-hoo! I made the team!” crowed karl as he watched the coach post the roster.
(verb) to talk in an unrestrained, excited manner.
“You look so radiant, so stunning, so fabulous in that dress, that I, I, I, just don't know what to say,” effused Alice.
(verb) to inspire with courage or confidence.
“Do it,” he encouraged. (submitted by Alysha B.)
(verb) to show or feel a lively or triumphant joy; rejoice exceedingly; be highly elated or jubilant.
“Yes!” he exulted, pumping his fist in the air in delight. (submitted by Chris G.)
(verb) to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
“It's okay, I know you didn't mean to. Let's be friends again,” Kate forgave. (submitted by Katherine K.)
(verb) to laugh in a silly, often high-pitched way, especially with short, repeated gasps and titters, as from juvenile or ill-concealed amusement or nervous embarrassment.
“Johnny's looking at me isn't he?” giggled Leslie as she playfully ran her fingers through her hair.
(verb) to smile broadly, especially as an indication of pleasure, amusement, or the like.
“My softball team, the Batgirls, won the game against the Sharks!” grinned Sabrina, in spite of the fact that a member of the Sharks was glaring at her. (submitted by Nora D.)
(verb) to utter low throaty bubbling noises, esp as a sign of contentment.
“I can't believe you just did that,” Kathy gurgled with laughter as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
(verb) to express oneself extravagantly or emotionally; talk effusively.
“I am so proud of my son. He not only made straight A's, but he's also on the football team,” gushed Alice as she talked with her neighbor.
(verb) an inarticulate sound uttered in contemplation, hesitation, dissatisfaction, doubt, etc.
“Shall we leave?” she hummed, grabbing his hand. (submitted by Rhianna H.)
(verb) a joke or witty remark; witticism.
“Sure I have plenty of money. In fact, it grows on a tree in my backyard,” jested Jim.
(verb) to speak or act in a playful or merry way.
“You're really getting fat. Just kidding!” joked Kim.
(verb) to express approval or admiration of; commend; extol.
“You ran an excellent race,” praised Samantha's track coach.
(verb) to utter a low, continuous, murmuring sound expressive of contentment or pleasure, as a cat does.
“You sure look handsome in that tuxedo,” purred Emily.
(verb) to proclaim loudly (praise, disapproval, etc.).
“Long live the king,” the crowd resounded as the royal carriage rolled down the road.
(verb) to proclaim enthusiastically.
“I got an A on my test! I got an A on my test!” sang Rosalynn as she danced down the hallway toward her locker.
(verb) to smile in a silly, self-conscious way.
“I really like Troy,” she said a little bit too loudly. Then she noticed him looking at her, and simpered.
(verb) to assume a facial expression indicating pleasure, favor, or amusement, characterized by an upturning of the corners of the mouth.
“I am so proud of you,” smiled Joe's mother.
(verb) to express gratitude, appreciation, or acknowledgment to.
“I can't even begin to tell you how much I like your gift,” thanked Alan as he unwrapped the present.
(noun) the rapid vibration of one speech organ against another (as of the tip of the tongue against the teethridge).
“I will now roll my R's like this, rrrrrrrrr,” trilled the Spanish teacher.
|The emotion of SADNESS 😢|
(verb) to offer an apology or excuse for some fault, insult, failure, or injury.
“I'm really sorry Dad; I didn't mean to break the window.” apologized Andy as he looked down at the baseball bat in his hands.
(verb) to cry out loudly and unrestrainedly.
“I can't believe we lost the game,” bawled Paul as he held his head in his hands while the crowd left the bleachers.
(verb) an act of weeping noisily and without restraint.
With little prompting, she spilled the whole glorious story in its entirety. Exhausted and tearful, she blubbered, “It's all my fault.” (submitted by Holly T.)
(verb) to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to.
“It's okay Paul. Our team will win their next game,” comforted Jill as she gently patted Paul on the back.
(verb) to alleviate or lessen the grief, sorrow, or disappointment of; give solace or comfort.
“I know you failed the test, but don't worry, you'll pass the next one,” consoled Bill's mother.
(verb) to utter inarticulate sounds, especially of lamentation, grief, or suffering, usually with tears.
“I can't believe that Kathy had to move to another town. I'm going to miss her so much,” cried Wendy as she vainly tried to stop the tears from flowing down her cheeks.
(adjective) sullenly or silently gloomy; dejected.
“I got a C- in Choir,” Karran glumly said. (submitted by Taylor P.)
(noun) an expression of grief or sorrow.
“Have you seen my kitten? I left the door open and my kiiten got out, and now I can't find her.” lamented Krista as she looked up and down the street.
(verb) to speak in a low indistinct manner, almost to an unintelligible extent; mutter.
“I'm sorry I hit you,” mumbled Jake to his sister when his mother forced him to apologize.
(noun) a mumbled or private expression of discontent.
“I really wish I had bought the mirrored aviator sunglasses instead of the retro style,” murmured Ted.
(verb) to yearn or long; pine.
“I sure wish Dad was here,” sighed Valerie as she looked at the steam pouring out from under the car's hood.
(verb) to sniff repeatedly, as from a head cold or in repressing tears.
“I still love you,” Sandy sniffled, “even though you don't love me anymore.”
(verb) to weep with a convulsive catching of the breath.
“I'm sorry,” he sobbed. “It was my job to protect you and now you're dead.” (submitted by McKenna Y.)
(verb) to divulge, disclose, or tell.
“Did he confess?” “Yes, under duress, he spilled the whole story.” (submitted by Holly T.)
(verb) to express deep sorrow for; mourn; lament.
“Why did he leave me? We used to have such a good relationship,” wailed Kayla.
(verb) to express grief, sorrow, or any overpowering emotion by shedding tears; shed tears; cry.
“He never even said goodbye; he's just like a ghost,” Jessy wept softly, broken hearted over the loss of her husband. (submitted by Brianna L.)
|The emotion of SURPRISE 😲|
(verb) to talk complainingly or with a whine.
“But yesterday you said I could go,” she bleated.
(verb) to utter suddenly or inadvertently; divulge impulsively or unadvisedly.
“It's true, I ate all the cookies,” blurted Johnnie when his mother gave him a stern look.
(verb) to cry out or speak suddenly and vehemently, as in surprise, strong emotion, or protest.
“I made the team!” Lizzy exclaimed. (submitted by Helenaluciana M)
(noun) a sudden, short intake of breath, as in shock or surprise.
“It's gone!” Jake gasped. “My wallet was in my pocket a minute ago, but now it's gone!”
marveled (U.S. spelling) marvelled (U.K. spelling)
(noun) something that causes wonder, admiration, or astonishment.
“You saved my life,” marveled Amy. (submitted by Alison S.)
(adjective) bewildered; puzzled.
“I don't understand,” she said perplexed. (submitted by Elvey T.)
(transitive verb) to utter hastily or explosively in confusion or excitement.
“What what what do you mean I failed the exam?” sputtered Wendy. “I thought I aced it.”
(verb) to call or cry out sharply.
“Ouch!” Tony yelped. “That really hurt!”
|The emotion of questions or curiosity 🤔|
(verb) to put a question to; inquire of.
“What is the capitol of Vermont?” asked Wilbur.
(noun) a demand to explain, justify, etc.
“Why are you always blaming me?” challenged Andy.
(verb) to attempt to influence by gentle persuasion, flattery, etc.; cajole:
“You do want to grow up to be big boy don’t you?” coaxed the toddler's mother as she tried to feed him some beets.
(noun) an indirect, covert, or helpful suggestion; clue:
“You do think I look pretty in this dress don't you?” hinted Amy as she winked mischievously at Bill.
(verb) to seek information by questioning; ask:
“Can you tell me what the capital of Mississippi is?” inquired Leland.
|pleaded (pled) 💬|
(verb) to appeal or entreat earnestly:
“Won't you please stay for dinner?” pleaded Catherine as Nathan headed for the door.
(verb) unable to understand; perplexed or confused.
“Am I the only one who doesn’t understand that math formula?” puzzled Dan as he raised his hand to ask the teacher a question.
(noun) a question; an inquiry.
“Are you sure that will work?” queried Jeff.
(noun) the act of asking or inquiring; interrogation; query.
“Are you sure want me to turn left at the stop light?” questioned Mary.
(noun) a questioning.
“What are you talking about?” quizzed Alan.
(verb) to think or speculate curiously.
“Did he mean to imply that I broke the window?” wondered Alex.
|Words associated with uncertainty 😟|
(verb) To give warning to; advise or urge to take heed.
“Are you sure about this? I'm not.” cautioned Mary.
(verb) to make concession; yield to pressure or circumstances; admit.
“I don't understand. I was taught that evolution was real; I can see now that there is no evidence to back the theory.” Charlie conceded.
(adjective) unsettled in opinion or belief; undecided; hesitating.
“I don't think so,” Adam said doubtfully, shaking his head. (submitted by Stevie M.)
(verb) to form an estimate or conjecture.
“The capitol of West Virginia is … Fargo?” guessed Sean.
(verb) to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination.
“The capitol of West Virginia is,” Tom hesitated, “Charleston.”
(verb) to waver in mind or opinion; be indecisive or irresolute.
“I don't like Bill. I mean I do, but I don't,” Alan vacillated.
|Words not associated with any particular emotion 🤷|
(verb) to show or express recognition or realization of.“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I heard you,” Jason acknowledged.
(verb) to assent tacitly; submit or comply silently or without protest; agree; consent:“Okay, okay, I agree with you,” Sam acquiesced.
(verb) to say or write further.“Not only that, but Jill is pretty smart too,” Joe added.
(verb) to greet by a prescribed form.The reporter bypassed everyone else at the table and focused on the man sitting at the head. “Excuse me Mr. Mayor, I'd like to ask you a question, if I may,” he politely addressed the man.
(verb) to acknowledge; confess.“She … she is so gorgeous! Everything about her makes me swoon!” Trenton admitted. (submitted by Brianna L.)
(verb) to give counsel to; offer an opinion or suggestion as worth following.“You should wear a helmet when you ride a bike,” advised the police officer.
(verb) to express agreement with or commitment to; uphold; support.“You were right. The first space shuttle was launched in 1981,” Randy affirmed.
(verb) to have the same views, emotions, etc.; harmonize in opinion or feeling.“Yes, that is a good idea, we should go to the movies tonight,” Joyce agreed.
(verb) to state; declare.“Guess what dear, I'm pregnant!” announced Tim's wife.
(verb) to speak or write in response to; reply to.“When will I be home? I'll be home in an hour,” answered Jamie.
(adjective) made clear or distinct.“Please! Do not bring your textbook tomorrow!” Miss Lim articulated. (submitted by Han Y.)
(adjective) to be sure or certain of something; very confident.“The monsters don't come out during the day,” assured Mack. (submitted by Kayla F.)
(adjective) acknowledged; declared.“I have not eaten chocolate for over thirty days!” she avowed rather forcefully.
(verb) to proceed to perform the first or earliest part of some action; commence; start.“Well,” began Clarence, “It all started when I got out of bed this morning.”
(verb) to be excessively proud, to brag, or be vain.“Winning the kickball tournament was as easy as pie,” Sean boasted. (submitted by Kayla F.)
|broke in||cajoled 💬|
(verb) to persuade by flattery or promises; wheedle; coax.“Come on Dad, please take me to the mall. You want to get out of the house anyway, don't you?” Sally cajoled as she pulled her dad up off the sofa.
(verb) to make (an idea, statement, etc.) clear or intelligible; to free from ambiguity.“So, we just read up until chapter eight?” Vonnie clarified with the teacher, just to be sure. (submitted by Katherine K.)
(verb) to give instruction or advice.“Simon paused, not knowing what to say. “Tell them about your socks,” his dad coached. (submitted by Neil F.)
(verb) to accord in opinion; agree.“Shall we dine?” Alice asked.
“Indeed!” Bob concurred. (submitted by Anastasia K.)
(adjective) made certain as to truth, accuracy, validity, availability, etc.“She has a concussion,” the nurse confirmed. (submitted by Alorie F.)
|considered 💬||continued||contributed 💬|
(verb) to give something: i.e. time, information, suggetions, etc.“I don't know what to do!” Sue cried.
“Maybe you could talk to him?” Allen contributed. (submitted by Emilia R.)
(verb) to speak without expression or tone; to speak sarcastically.“Oh, yeah, sure, just dump your money into the river,” Babette deadpanned, rolling her eyes. (submitted by Jackie L.)
(verb) to support in the face of criticism.“He didn't mean to,” defended Michael quickly. (submitted by Alexa C.)
(verb) to bend or turn aside; turn from a true course or straight line; swerve.“Well, at least I don't have a huge forehead!” Elizabeth deflected. (submitted by Jaylin)
(verb) to make objection, especially on the grounds of scruples; take exception; object.“Sure.” He jumped to his feet. “I'm sorry to have kept you.”
“No, no,” Anne demurred. (submitted by Jennie G.)
(verb) to tell or depict in written or spoken words; give an account of:“So, what did the man look like?” The police inquired, desperate for an answer.
“He had light, blonde curly hair and round, black glasses. He had a scar on his cheek, and his skin was really wrinkly.” Mary described. (submitted by Katherine K.)
(adjective) showing little interest or emotion.“You know I hate dresses,” Emily said flatly. (submitted by Jackie L.)
(verb) to address with some form of salutation; welcome.“Welcome to our home!” Mrs. Karns greeted fondly, gesturing the young lady to come inside. (submitted by Katherine K.)
(verb) to utter with a particular tone or voice modulation, such as singing or chanting.“Don't be concerned,” Lilith gently intoned, “I never meant to insult you.”
(verb) to talk or utter rapidly, indistinctly, incoherently, or nonsensically; chatter.“Haven't you heard? June's gonna be selling tickets to the game! I can't wait, it's gonna be so great!” Andrew jabbered, jumping up and down eagerly. (submitted by Jackie L.)
(verb) to propose or put forward for consideration.“We could always cheat off of some old chap next to us in on the test,” I offered gleefully. (submitted by Brianna L.)
(verb) to hold or express an opinion.“My brother is a genius,” he opined.
|pestered||piped||pointed out||pondered 💬|
(verb) to think about; reflect on.“I wonder what would happen if I added salt to my cola,” Wayne pondered.
(verb) to speak foolishly.“Oh my goodness, I can't believe you actuallly got me an XBox one for my Birthday! I mean, I've always wanted one, but I didn't think I'd actually get one. This is so exciting I can't hardly stand it,” prattled Andy as he tore the wrapping paper off his present.
“Well, I think he's mean because... just because!” Adaline prattled, sticking up her chin defiantly. (submitted by Jackie L.)
(verb) to urge, pressure.“Oh, please tell me where he is!” Alexander pressed, staring frantically up at his mother. (submitted by Jackie L.)
|proposed||protested||put in||quietly 💬|
(adjective) making little to no noise or sound.Ms. Maple covered her lips with her index finger until she had the attention of the entire class. “Let's use our inside voices,” she said quietly.
(verb) to speak unnecessarily long and in a confusing way.“When I was your age, we used to go to the park... or was it the train tracks? But we would...” the old man rambled, causing Charlie to groan inwardly. (submitted by Jackie L.)
|rattled on 💬|
(noun) to talk rapidly; chatter.“I like pie, cheese, cake, pizza...” Bob rattled on. (submitted by Emma L.)
(verb) to read something out loud.“The sign says “do not trespass”,” Gabriella read, squinting at the letters. (submitted by Jackie L.)
(noun) a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action.“It's impossible to finish by tomorrow,” Ashley reasoned. “Can't we have another day?” (submitted by Sarah S.)