Verbs may be attributed to higher agency than other grammatical categories. In Study 1, we confirmed this hypothesis with archival datasets comprising verbs ( N = 950) and adjectives ( N = 2115). We then investigated whether verbs (vs. adjectives) increase message effectiveness. In three experiments presenting potential NGOs (Studies 2 and 3) or corporate campaigns (Study 4) in verb or adjective form, we demonstrate the hypothesized relationship. Across studies, (overall N = 721) grammatical agency consistently increased message effectiveness. Semantic agency varied across contexts by either increasing (Study 2), not affecting (Study 3), or decreasing (Study 4) the effectiveness of the message. Overall, experiments provide insights in to the meta-semantic effects of verbs – demonstrating how grammar may influence communication outcomes.