21 alternative verbs for movement

alternative verbs to goThere are some common verbs for moving in English, such as to go and to walk. These are useful for general descriptions of movement, but like with verbs describing talking, there are many other verbs that you can use to provide more detail, variety and imagination! For instance, to say “He went to the bar.” tells a lot more when you say “He hurried to the bar.”, or even “He clambered to the bar.”

1. Sprint

Running at maximum speed.

He sprinted out of the burning room.

2. Crawl

To move on hands and knees; or otherwise to move slowly across the floor.

The soldiers crawled under the wire to escape.

3. Stumble

Moving unsteadily, or to accidentally trip or collide with something.

The drunkard stumbled out of the bar.

4. Hurry (Rush)

To move quickly. Usually implies panic or urgency.

They hurried to the theatre; they were going to be late!

5. Skip (hop, trot)

A short, bouncing movement, usually light and often happy.

She was so happy she skipped all the way home.

6. Shift

Transferring from one place to another. This can be a general term for movement, but is useful for suggesting extra effort or weight.

Though he was blocking the doorway, he refused to shift.

7. Hike

Walking with extra effort or energy (particularly uphill).

The scouts hiked up the mountain.

8. Trudge (Traipse)

Moving with difficulty, for instance through something that offers resistance.

The gardener had to trudge through two feet of mud to find the lost shoe.

9. Stroll

Walking particularly casually, with leisure.

I like to stroll through the park at least once a week.

10. Bound

Moving in large movements, for example in leaps or jumps.

The dog bounded through the grass to get the ball.

11. Jog

Light running, less effort than a full run.

He tends to jog, instead of run, because of his heart condition.

12. Pace

To move in steps, usually back and forth.

The lion paced around the cowering zoo-keeper.

13. Lope

Moving with large, easy strides, similar to bound.

The tall man loped through the hall without noticing the excitement outside.

14. Scamper

Small, hasty movement, usually hasty and playful.

Triumphant, the mouse scampered away with the cheese.

15. Sidle

Moving sideways, or furtively (in a sly or suspicious way).

Having planted the poison, the spy sidled back out of the room.

16. Drop

Typically a downward movement, this can be used when a person falls or loses control. In phrasal verbs it can create movements suggesting a reduction in effort or energy, such as drop back or drop off.

Overwhelmed by the music, he dropped to his knees and cried.

17. Dart (Dash)

A fast, sharp movement, often sudden or unexpected.

They both darted for the gun at the same time.

18. Scramble

Moving quickly, urgently, often using hands and feet (or all means necessary). Can also mean a chaotic or panicked movement.

The group scrambled out of the way of the falling bricks.

19. Flee

To move quickly away from something, usually to get away from danger.

When he looked away, Lisa fled from the violent man with the knife.

20. Scurry

Moving quickly, with haste, usually suggesting little movements.

The children scurried into their different hiding places before Billy finished counting.

21. Shoot

A fast, sudden movement, similar to dart.

The girl shot across the room to close the door in time.

 

These are some of the very many different verbs available for describing movement, demonstrating how you can introduce a bit of variety to your language. As you can see, there is a lot of overlap between some of the verbs, but they do tend to have their own nuances.

5 thoughts on “21 alternative verbs for movement

  1. Pingback: Plans, Intentions and Arrangements- expressing movement | English for Advanced level at E.O.I.

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