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Is A Noun More Powerful Than A Verb?


There have been several articles published recently about a new showing showing that people who were asked if it was important to be a voter were substantially more likely to vote than those who were asked if it was important to vote — see The power of nouns – tiny word change increases voter turnout and Boosting Voting Rates, With One Question.

I’ve previously posted (and written further about it in my books) about a lesson I use with students at the beginning of the year where they identify the characteristics of a “community of learners” and decide if they want that kind of atmosphere or if they’d prefer being a “classroom of students.”

I’m going to use this new research study to develop another similar lesson lesson plan (which I’ll share here in the future). I’ll be looking at if students what to be a learner or want to learn, and what the differences might be…..

This is particularly interesting to me because of my community organizing background. We used to highlight the difference between the word power in English and contrast that it was a noun, as opposed to its Spanish equivalent, poder, which is a verb. In that case, however, we talked about the fact that it was more powerful as a verb, and what that might mean in practice.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Interesting observation. How about a T-shirt that says: “Verbs get more action!” Only for 12th graders!

  2. Very interesting concept to look into! Or shall I say, to be the looker of this concept :).

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