I'm looking for a list of the most common verbs that have the highest descriptive power.

By descriptive power I mean that using only a subset of the verbs in the list one should be able to describe the content of a given random image, and this should be true for most of the images out there.

The fact that these verbs should allow the description of an image means that they should be interaction verbs, in the sense that people in images usually interact with each other (talk or kiss ...) or interact with an object (ride or fix ...).

The descriptions I'm thinking of should be in very simple english, i.e. mike is fixing his bycicle or peter is walking his dog in the park holding hands with Joanna.

Is there anywhere I can find studies on this problem? Or statistics suggesting what subset of english verbs should constitute such a list?

I'm aware of simple english wikipedia, but was hoping of some more studied source. Any help?

Thanks a lot!

  • The suitability of the list would really depend on the subjects found in the set of pictures. You need to be more precise than "a given random image". – TRomano Dec 8 '14 at 22:59
  • If you're really trying to figure out what verbs would apply to ANY given image, that's basically inventing a form of AI...not a trivial question at all. – levininja Feb 5 at 23:27

Here is a PDF with a list of descriptive verbs. Most of them are very commonly used.


  • Thanks Nicole, could you please give me some more details on where you found this list and how was it computed? – Matteo Dec 8 '14 at 19:52
  • I Googled "descriptive verbs" and saw a link that was from an education resource, so I figured it would be reliable. There are many such lists on education and writing websites because English teachers often encourage their students to use descriptive verbs in their writing. – Nicole Dec 8 '14 at 19:54
  • I see. However, these verbs are not quite interactive. As you can see almost all of them refer to people's feelings or states (i.e. love, discover, claim, etc.) and are not descriptive of what might be happening in an image picture that you shoot with your camera. – Matteo Dec 8 '14 at 22:49

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