I am trying to write a sentence to mean that something made me think deeply about myself and I would really like to use the word introspect. I came up with:

During several instances of reading that book, I felt the need to stop and introspect...

Is there a better way to say what I am trying to say? Can anyone give me examples of using this word as a verb without changing it to its noun form, introspection?

  • 1
    You'd probably be better served using "reflect".
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 17, 2014 at 14:42
  • Oxford has numerous sentence examples, but they all sound stuffy or old-fashioned. I'd go with @DanBron's suggestion.
    – bib
    Sep 17, 2014 at 14:45
  • 1
    Reminds me of the old Burke quote: "“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.".
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 17, 2014 at 14:50
  • Dan Bron - reflect would do the job too... I was wondering if introspect could ever be used in a sentence in the verb form and sound correct.
    – Keneni
    Sep 17, 2014 at 16:06
  • 1
    Short answer is "yes", but because it's uncommon, it might draw attention to itself (as a a word), rather than transparently conveying the idea you're aiming for. But the effect won't be large.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 17, 2014 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


Although the verb "introspect" is perfectly acceptable, it's not advisable. When you use that word, listeners/readers stop listening to what you say, and instead think about how you're saying it. If nobody is listening to what you say, why bother saying it?

Poets use words that way, writing things that people walk around, inspecting it from all angles, admiring it - but it doesn't effectively communicate ideas, which is why it doesn't get used in advertising or in campaign speeches. Rap "music" is poetry - and it's hated by most people. The lyrics in other music gets washed down with pretty tunes, leaving a few limericks about girls from Nantucket as the only poems most people enjoy.

In other words, it's couth to keep your language ept!


I have frankly never heard the word used as a verb like that. I would write it like this:

Several times while reading it, the book caused me to become introspective.

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