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NLP Predicates – The best examples to use [Lists with words]

NLP Predicates – The best examples to use [Lists with words]

NLP predicates are a simple form of imagery in your language that can be used for a great number of different purposes. Here you will find a complete list of predicates to recognize and use. A complete overview with examples of predicates is given in the following paragraphs.

What can you expect to achieve by using predicates?

  • Building rapport: speak or write in terms of the other person’s preferred system of language. Listen to the types of words people use to find out what their preferences are. Ask ´how´ and ´why´ questions to find out what a person’s preferred system is. “Tell me more about it.” “How?” “What do you like about it?” Then you can use someone’s preferred system, for example the system of feeling (kinesthetic), when you talk to them: “When did you really feel loved?”
  • Utilization of a person’s words from the ‘VAKOG’ list to guide his / her limited ways of thinking:
    “I can’t imagine I can do that. “What if you could imagine it?
    “I’ve been tuned out. “Can you tune back into it?
    ” This weighs heavily on me…” Assist that person to feel lighter.
  • With visualizations and stories, you can use predicates to make it more vivid. For a stronger effect, insert adjectives before the V, A, K, O or G words for a stronger effect. For example: you can see a blue ocean, or you can see a sparkling blue ocean.
  • Another application is simply to make your speech more spectacular, instead of boring company language. Otherwise your employees will fall asleep. Martin Luther King worked with all the senses all the time. “There are so many opportunities in life that you can just taste them, you have to grab them.”

Examples of predicates, to recognize and use in your speech

Visual predicates

  • Seeing the bright side of things
  • Review
  • High regard
  • Out of sight
  • Clear overview
  • A feast for the eye
  • What kind of …. do you see yourself doing?
  • Can you imagine that?
  • Can you picture that?
  • Lighting spot
  • Insight
  • View
  • See
  • See through
  • Show me
  • Tunnel vision
  • Vision
  • Perspective
  • Focus
  • Put you on the spot
  • Colorful
  • Fata morgana
  • Uncover
  • Appear
  • Foreseen
  • Shiny
  • Brilliant
  • Brilliant
  • Sparkling
  • Illustrate
  • Picture me
  • Sharp
  • Color
  • Blurred
  • Bright/crystal clear
  • Have a clear picture
  • Clarify
  • A glow
  • In a glimpse
  • Eye to eye
  • Seeing in a larger context
  • Mental image
  • Spiritual Eye
  • Naked eye
  • Imagination (appealing to one’s imagination)
  • Reflect
  • Photographic memory
  • Looks like a photo
  • Overseeing
  • Short-sighted
  • Visible
  • Demonstrate
  • Picturesque
  • Your true colors
  • It looks like it…
  • A mental image, a mental scene, in your mind’s eye
  • With an eagle’s eye
  • Keeping an eye on things
  • At first glance
  • Have an eye for something
  • That’s illustrative for…
  • Let me take a look
  • Look, I mean…
  • Have an eye on
  • Against the background of
  • It is not so Black and White
  • Where does a lightbulb go on with you?
  • Show me what you mean. I see what you mean.
  • The problem stares at me in the face
  • Take a closer look
  • Hazing out in front
  • Beautiful to see
  • take a look here
  • This is a new perspective on…
  • What a dark subject!
  • Let us shine a light on this subject.
  • In the light of…
  • If I were to show you an attractive proposal, would you like to see whether it is what you want?
  • Wolf in sheep’s clothing
  • What an oasis of peace
  • Through the eye of the needle
  • Sketching a rosy picture
  • Like two drops of water
  • Do you see a way to do that?
  • Turning a blind eye to something
  • Drop your eye on…

Auitory predicates

  • Questions
  • Talking
  • Voice
  • Outspoken
  • Calls
  • Shout
  • Say
  • That is what you are saying
  • I hear what you say
  • Be heard
  • Hear
  • Loud (and clear)
  • Screaming
  • Harmony
  • Melody
  • Chanting
  • Sound
  • Who sets the tone?
  • Hitting a different note
  • That sounds like…
  • Tuning / tuning in
  • It clicks
  • Roar
  • This is in harmony with…
  • Listening
  • A telling sign
  • Public voice
  • Said to be…
  • Just say…
  • Sounds good
  • Unheard of!
  • That doesn’t tell me anything
  • Chattering
  • Describe in detail
  • that rings a bell
  • Talking to deaf ears
  • How does that sound to the ears?
  • Like music to the ears
  • Does it tell you something?
  • You are a chatterbox
  • I am all ears
  • Individual elements work together in harmony: they are the instruments for the verbal orchestra.

Kinesthetic predicates

  • I feel that…
  • Cold / Warm
  • Heated (heated debate)
  • Hold on to that idea
  • Heartwarming
  • Heartbreaking
  • Feel
  • Slowly…
  • Wet
  • Firmly
  • Solid
  • Weight
  • Balanced
  • Light-footed
  • Holding on to
  • Gripping
  • Transform to
  • Moving someone around
  • I have the feeling that
  • Support
  • tangibly
  • Grasp (Getting a grasp on…)
  • Slipped through your fingers
  • Moving
  • Search for trigger points
  • Connect with
  • Throw it out
  • In concrete terms
  • Scraping
  • Keeps on sticking
  • I feel what you are saying
  • Feels good
  • Crushing
  • It comes down to
  • Tackling the issue
  • Hooking up
  • Well-founded
  • Get in touch with
  • Hand in hand
  • Persevere
  • Keeping your foot on the ball
  • Underlining on
  • Reverse world
  • Balanced
  • Applying pressure
  • To twist
  • Falling
  • Impression
  • Touched
  • Stirring
  • Clamped
  • Relaxed
  • Sensitive
  • razor sharp
  • Striking
  • Overpowered
  • Insensitive
  • Hard
  • Soft
  • let’s stay in touch
  • Where does it create a familiar feeling for you?
  • Walking into something
  • If I make you a concrete proposal, you can experience for yourself whether it feels good or not.
  • Hold on to
  • Creating a basis for
  • Have a handle
  • Pulling the strings
  • Feel good in your skin
  • The pressure is off
  • Pressure
  • I couldn’t put my finger on it
  • Tell me something interesting and I’m hanging on to your lips (‘Yes, I still feel it!’).
  • A stab in the back
  • Keep our spines straight.
  • Always keep the door open.
  • It feels like a warm blanket (of…)
  • It disappears like ice in a hot oven.
  • I felt like I had to walk on eggs.

Olfactory and gustatory predicates

  • Bitter
  • Stinking
  • Fragrant
  • To my taste
  • Sweet
  • It is right under your nose
  • To my taste
  • You smell danger
  • Seasoning it with humor
  • Tasteful

Anthony Robbins’ book contains a story about three houses…

In the book ‘Unlimited Power’ there is a story in which three houses are described. Read that story and notice what it does to you. First read the story without any knowledge of predicates and then read it again after you know what predicates are: this time with a different view. Which predicates do you recognise?

Exercise – Discover predicates and then improve your skills

Have someone tell you something about his holiday, for example, or about something interesting he recently experienced. What can you discover about his predicates?

Now you let the other person tell the same story, but this time in the predicates of the representation systems that have not or hardly been used. Now it’s interactive as well. So ask questions and paraphrase, and while you’re doing that, you match the representation system the other person is using.

In the third variation, you have interaction with the predicates of a mismatching representation system.

Exercise – Train your predicate vocabulary with a story

Create a story by thinking of two sentences while taking turns with someone or multiple people. Each sentence contains predicate words of a category from the ‘VAKOG’ list: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory.

  1. A kicks off the story with a starting sentence.
  2. B indicates which VAKOG category has been used for this sentence. Think of a new sentence that contains words from the same category.
  3. B can now add another sentence to the story. To do this, B uses another category from the VAKOG list.
  4. The next exercise partner repeats steps 2 and 3. Continue until the story is over.

You may want to do two rounds with a simpler level first:

  1. You make a round with only one representation system.
  2. You make a round with only visual predicates, then with only auditory predicates and finally with only kinesthetic predicates.

Exercise – Identifying sensory specific words in practice

Listen to a radio clip and note down the words and phrases specific to your senses. This is an exercise that is given as homework in every NLP Practitioner Training course.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading my articles. Happiness is my big subject. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!


  1. Himanshu

    Can I love you really helpful

  2. Atique

    Dear Rubin,

    Kudos to you on these wonderfully written posts. Stay Happy Stay Blessed and may you spread all the Happiness that you can desire.


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Who is Happy Rubin?

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Dear reader, thank you so much for dropping by on this curious happiness blog. I want to inspire you to get the best out of your life. Being happy and following your heart are my subjects.

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