Verb diversity refers to the number of different verbs children understand or say. Verbs can be action words like go, eat, play, or sleep or state words like want, like, or need. Verb diversity is used to estimate the size of a young child’s verb vocabulary and can be assessed with parent report tools or with spontaneous language samples.
On this page, you’ll learn how to assess verb diversity and ways you can help build your child’s verb vocabulary.
Verbs Pave the Way for Language Development (by Lauren Lowry, The Hanen Centre)
This article lists examples of verbs and explains why verbs are an important part of vocabulary development. It summarizes age expectations for verb vocabulary size and growth from 24 to 30 months, based on a research study from the APL. The article also provides tips for helping children learn new verbs and when parents may want to talk to a doctor or a speech-language pathologist, if they are concerned about their child’s vocabulary development.
For more information on verb diversity, see
Hadley, P., Rispoli, M., & Hsu, N. (2016). Toddlers’ verb lexicon diversity and grammatical outcomes. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 47, 44-58. PMID: 26803292