Definitions of Selected Action Verbs

The following verbs are useful in stating the functions of jobs concisely.  The list is intended to help you avoid the use of indefinite or ambiguous expressions.  While it is not possible that two people would agree fully as to the "correct" definitions of these verbs, it is necessary for purposes of comparison that position description writers and job analyst define their verbs in the same way.

Acknowledges To report the receipt of
Adapt Modify or change to fit specific or new situations
Administer Manage or direct (Generally requires some additional explanation to show specific detail.)
Advise Offer an informed opinion or give specialized information to others
Analyze Identify the elements of a whole and critically examine and relate these component parts separately and/or in relation to the whole
Allocate Assign or apportion for a specific purpose or to a particular person
Appraise Judge as to quality; compare critically with established standards

Exercise final and decisive authority, causing action to use money, materials, or equipment


Gather from various sources

Assign Specify or designate tasks and duties to be performed by others
Authorize Approve or commit an act implying subsequent action by others
Commit Pledge or assign to a particular course of action
Compile Put together information or assemble data in a new form
Conduct Manage or carry on, with emphasis on concept of immediate supervision or personal leadership
Control Direct, regulate, or guide the use of money, methods, equipment, materials; also, the process of monitoring activities to ensure conformance with planned results
Cooperate Act jointly with others
Coordinate Regulate, adjust or direct the related actions of others in order to attain desired results
Create Produce through imaginative skills
Delegate Entrust to another person tasks or duties which require exercise of some of the authority of the person originally responsible
Develop Disclose, discover, perfect, or unfold a plan or idea, in detail, gradually
Devise Form in the mind by combinations of ideas, new applications of principles, or new arrangements of parts
Direct Govern or control work operations by establishing and implementing objectives, practices, and methods
Estimate Forecast future quantities, values, sizes, extents, etc., either on the basis of judgment or calculations
Execute Put into effect or carry out methods, plans, etc.
Forecast Predict future events based on specified assumptions
Implement Carry out or fulfill by taking action
Inform Communicate knowledge to others
Initiate Start or introduce
Inspect Examine materials, equipment, reports, work, etc., to determine quality, suitability for use, etc.
Instruct Teach, demonstrate, or by other methods impart knowledge to others; direct that specific activity be performed; may include directing how it is to be performed
Interpret Explain to others (orally or in writing) the meaning or significance of something
Investigate Uncover facts by systematically finding them, conducting a searching inquiry, and examining various sources
Maintain Keep in satisfactory condition
Manage Plan, organize, direct, control, and evaluate operation of an organizational unit, with responsibility for the output
Negotiate Confer with others to reach an agreement
Originate Begin or initiate

Supervise a function or operation as distinct from supervising people

Propose Recommend or suggest for consideration or adoption
Recommend Present a matter to another person for action or approval
Research Specific inquiry involving prolonged and critical investigation, having for its aim the study of new facts and their interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions or theories that may be affected by newly discovered facts, or the practical application of such newly discovered facts, or the practical applications of such new or revised conclusions
Review Consider or examine facts or results for accuracy, completeness, and suitability
Select Choose that which appears to be best suited for a specific purpose

State precisely, or in detail, or name explicitly

Study Apply thought to any subject of investigation, in order to arrive at the most suitable conclusion
Supervise Personally oversee or control work performance and conduct of others, where there is opportunity for control or inspection of work performed
Train Teach, demonstrate, or guide others in the performance of assigned work

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