In a post last month, we looked at adjectives and phrases that describe change. This post will look at some of the many verbs that mean ‘change’.
A lot of ‘change’ verbs mean ‘to change slightly’, but some have additional meanings. For example, if you adapt something, you change it slightly for a different use:
Most of the vegetarian options can be adapted for vegans.
To adjust something is to make a small change to it, usually to make it more suitable:
You can adjust the height of the chair.
If you modify something, you change it slightly to improve it or make it more acceptable:
The proposals were modified and approved.
The informal verb tweak means the same as ‘modify’:
Just tweak the last paragraph and it will be fine.
Other ‘change’ verbs describe big changes. For example, if you transform something, you completely change its appearance or character in a very positive way:
Overnight, technology transformed the whole industry.
The area has been transformed into a major tourist attraction.
If you overhaul a system, you completely change it so that it is more successful:
The whole healthcare system needs to be completely overhauled.
Meanwhile, if something revolutionizes the way something is done or the study of a particular subject, it makes great changes to it that are very positive:
The Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other.
Some verbs specifically mean that you change something from one thing into another thing, such as the verb convert:
We converted the third bedroom into an office.
You can also say that you turn something into another thing:
It used to be a library but they turned it into a restaurant.
The verb evolve has two senses. When animals and plants evolve, they change and develop over a very long period of time:
It’s now thought that all species evolved from a single cell.
More generally, ‘evolve’ means to gradually develop:
Languages evolve constantly.
The company has evolved over the years.
Another ‘change’ verb with a very specific meaning is morph. When one image or form changes and becomes another, it is said to morph into the second image:
The screen showed a man morphing into a tiger.
Morph is now also used more generally to mean ‘to gradually change in appearance or character’: The protests have morphed into a generally anti-government protest.
The verb shift is also used in this area. If ideas and opinions shift, they change:
Attitudes towards meat-eating have shifted considerably in the last few years.
I’ll finish with a relatively new ‘change’ verb that is heard especially in business. If a company or product disrupts the way that an industry traditionally works, it causes it to change:
Their move into publishing disrupted the whole industry.
7 thoughts on “Evolving and disrupting: verbs meaning ‘change’”
Thanks but I would also like to know how best I can refer to a ‘red-hot charcoal’ burning in a stove and cooking in general
Excellent, I was struggled to recognize the different between “adjust” and “modify”. Thank U a lot Kate Woodford. Pls, keeping writing and giving us more great articles.
Hi I wohld like to know more about preposition somstimes it hard for me to make a correct sentence using a preposition.
Really nice post it bigger mind i dig it always anyway, Kate mind if i ask itty butty question if you want to look year passed post how can do that sporadic got fox when i key in search bar your answer indeed helpful
Thanks for the details. Rajan Pereira , Chattisgarh State,. India.
THIS IS A NICE IDEA TO ME AS A STUDENT.