Cognitive Verbs


Cognitive verbs are, put simply, mind skills. To be a successful student it is important to understand the meaning of, and know how to perform, the various cognitive verbs that appear in tasks, assignments and exams. However, simply knowing what the words mean and how to perform them is not always enough. Sometimes prompts take the form of questions, requiring students deduce which skill is required to respond appropriately. 

Marzano and Kendall's Cognitive Processes

The following arrangement of cognitive verbs is according to Marzano and Kendall's Cognitive Processes

Retrieval (who, what, when)

Comprehension (why, how)


Knowledge Utilisation

Bloom's Taxonomy Verbs

The following arrangement of cognitive verbs is according to Bloom's Taxonomy


Questions: Where? When? Who? What?

Cognitive Verbs:


Questions: Why? How?

Cognitive Verbs:


Questions: How is it used? How does it work?

Cognitive Verbs:


Questions: Why does it work? Why is it used? What does it mean/infer/suggest? What would happen? How could/would? What is the cause/connection/reason/relationship/influence?

Cognitive Verbs:


Questions: What is the effect/impact/outcome/result? What if? What could happen? How may/might/will? Which one? What is your opinion/perspective? What do you believe/feel/think?

Cognitive Verbs:


Questions: What can you build/create/design? What can you do? What could you invent? How could you innovate?

Cognitive Verbs: