Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence: Definition, Characteristics and Activities to Develop It

The ability to speak and express ourselves is an element that distinguishes us as human beings. Since childhood we listen and observe the relationship that sounds have with their meaning. At present, verbal and linguistic skills are constantly evaluated in study centers. However, little is known about the possibility of its stimulation and consequently its development. Next, we will be discussing what verbal-linguistic intelligence is and how we can develop it during the course of our lives.

Verbal-linguistic intelligence is one of the eight intelligences that make up Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. It is important to remember that Gardner defines intelligence as “the ability to solve problems or create products that are relevant in a given cultural context or community.”

In his theory Gardner indicates that there are eight types of intelligence. They work together, but at the same time they are independent. All have development capacity based on stimuli. In this article we will be describing one of them, linguistic verbal intelligence.

It may interest you: 8 Ways to Learn: Guide to Understanding the Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Verbal-linguistic intelligence allows people to communicate through language. It is related to the capacity and ability to handle the mother tongue or other languages, either orally or in writing, in order to communicate and express one’s own thought. It comprises the ability to manipulate the syntax, phonetics, pragmatics and semantics of language. It is one of the most studied intelligences in the educational field along with mathematical logical intelligence and is considered universal intelligence.

Verbal-linguistic intelligence is responsible for the production of language, including poetry, metaphors, similes, grammar, literature, tongue twisters, and abstract reasoning. It is important to know that linguistic verbal intelligence is not synonymous with bilingualism, however, it can influence the ease that a person can have when learning new languages.

Like interpersonal intelligence, verbal-linguistic intelligence is based on one of the pillars of human adaptation: social interactions. Well, its development depends on activities such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Some characteristics that people with a developed verbal-linguistic intelligence have are the following:

They think in words.

They use words as a way to express their thoughts. They make use of the composition, syntax and display of writing. They turn abstract thoughts into complete, meaningful sentences. They use grammatical organization to organize their ideas.

They like to read and write.

They are excellent readers and writers. They read several books a year, fragments of stories or tales, comic strips, etc. They write to show what they think, what they observe and what they feel.

They are distinguished by being excellent speakers.

They are able to be organized, objective, and wisely select words to convey a message. They have the power to convince and lead groups due to their ability to handle words.

They are excellent interpreters of the language.

Interpreting poems, plays and other elements of literature is her hobby. They like to practice riddles, word games and interpret texts. The figurative sense and the metaphor are part of what people with a developed linguistic verbal intelligence interpret easily.

They like to learn new languages.

Watching and listening to programs in other languages , even if they don’t understand them, is a challenge. They love to expose themselves to different ways of expression through the language.

Some strategies and materials used by people with developed verbal-linguistic intelligence are the following:

Reading books, newspapers and articles

Through reading they increase their vocabulary and learn to apply words in different contexts.


They discuss, present ideas or defend their positions related to a specific topic.

Word games

Through different word games such as word searches and crossword puzzles they develop their ability to identify words.


Through the podcast they use words and manage vocabulary so that they carry a message clearly and effectively. They use words to entertain and convince the people who listen to them.


They use storytelling to entertain, educate, and motivate people toward reading and writing.

Activities you can do to develop your verbal-linguistic intelligence:

Write reflective journals.

Writing about personal experiences, facts and stories promotes the acquisition of vocabulary and the development of expression through language.

Read a book.

Reading builds comprehension and encourages the use of new vocabulary. Through reading, the ability to interpret and imagine is developed.

Join a reading club.

Book clubs encourage discussion, debate, and interpersonal relationships based on reading. It is an opportunity to interact with people who share the same interests and to discuss them.

When reading, circulate a word that you do not understand and look for its meaning.

The purpose of this exercise is to increase vocabulary. When looking up words in the dictionary, you not only learn meanings, but you also work with the ability to organize words in alphabetical order.

Learn a new language.

Learning a new language promotes the development of verbal linguistic intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. Through the exchange of words people can be exposed to other cultures while traveling.

Participate in debates.

The debates stimulate the organization of ideas and coherent expression. In addition, debating with other people stimulates the development of the ability to use language orally.

 Verbal-linguistic intelligence is known as one of the universal intelligences since almost the entire population of the world is able to speak and a large part of it is able to read and write. The development of verbal-linguistic intelligence is of the utmost importance in the formation of the human being from childhood. We live in a globalized world where the ability to communicate effectively and listen have become essential skills to succeed both in the personal environment and in the work environment. These skills can be developed from childhood both in the classroom and at home.

The more we are exposed to reading, socializing and listening, the better we will be able to solve problems, be empathetic and use language to solve problems. When you have the development of this intelligence, you have the ability for better communication and, therefore, good relationships with others in the environment in which the person is surrounded.

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