Verbs Ending in -en


English has an significant group of verbs that end in “en”. These are often made from adjectives but may sometimes be formed from a noun as well.

Adjective + “en” => to get/become more adjective;  to make something more adjective

Noun       + “en” =>  “


  1. worse + en => worsen => to get worse; to become worse; to make worse
    The situation worsened.  His interference only worsened the situation.
  2. dark + en => darken => to get darker; to become darker; to make darker
    The sky darkened.  His mood darkened.  This copy is too light.  Can you darken it?
  3. length + en => lengthen => to get longer; to become longer; to make longer
  4. Restaurant ad:  We tighten our belt so you can loosen yours.  (play on words here)

Exceptions:  Not every word that ends in “-en” is necessarily a verb of this type though.  Example:  Glisten, listen, burden, beholden


Instructions:  Make verbs from these adjectives and use them in a sentence.  Suggested nouns may optionally be used as a subject or direct object. 

  1. sharp (stick, wit)
  2. tight (belt, budget)
  3. loose (necktie, belt)
  4. weak (hunger, grip)
  5. moist (rag, napkin)
  6. short (hem of a dress, lecture)
  7. deep (confusion, hole)
  8. wide (road, river)
  9. quick (pace, heartbeat)
  10. fast (seat belt, mooring line)
  11. thick (gravy, soup)
  12. sick (customers, patients)
  13. haste (progress)
  14. strength (body, support)
  15. length (hem of a dress, lecture)
  16. height (awareness)

Deepen your learning.  Broaden your horizons and vocabulary.  Strengthen your mastery of English.

Can you think of any other “en” verbs of this type?

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