1. Denied Fixation
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    Denied Fixation Member

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    To be verbs... a helpful suggestion...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Denied Fixation, Jan 10, 2010.

    Being new to this forum... I'm hoping no one will take this the wrong way... I just wish someone had mentioned this to me back when I was in high school, instead of years later... and thought maybe I'd share it in hopes that it might help someone else. My college English professor would be so proud of me right this second... as he once had to brow beat an entire class into conforming. This piece of advice alone changed my writing immensely! THANK YOU MR. DOOM!

    http://www.unc.edu/~dcderosa/Draftworkshops/tobeverbs.html

    Taken from the above link... which I would recommend everyone taking a peak at... it includes the list of verbs... example sentences rewritten... and an interesting exercise to help in getting rid of the To Be verbs in your own work.

    Common To Be verbs that should be avoided as much as possible!

    Am
    Are
    Is
    Was
    Were
    Be
    Become
    Became

    I'm not saying don't ever use them... but using them less, as my Professor once said, can make a dramatic difference to your story, paper, article... whatever you're writing.

    I hope this helps everyone as much as it did me! Although I still struggle with it, it's truly worth the effort to take a look!

    Happy writing!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is not advice that can be taken blindly. Forms of to be are also important auxilliary verbs in certain verb tenses, such as te progressive tenses.

    Furthermore, passive verbs do exist for a reason. Although you probably want most of your verbs to be active, passive voice has characteristics you will want to use.

    I would say that you should pay attention to your use of forms of to be, and make sure that you are using it to maximum effect. Overuse of it indicates that you can add snap to your writing by converting your sentences to more active ones.

    Also, an abundance of to be verbs can indicate passages of excessive static description, also worthy of attention. While description helps paint the scene for the reader, its cost is that action is slowed or suspended.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yup!... cog has nailed it yet again/still...

    the linked article is simply stressing the importance of lean, direct action writing and the active voice, vs over-wordy, indirect writing and the passive voice...
     
  4. Denied Fixation
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    Denied Fixation Member

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    Cogito... are you a teacher? If not you... you should be! You sound just like my college professor... ::whines::

    I mainly put this up because I had read several pieces on here that seemed to fall into the pattern of Was... was... was... was... all crammed into one paragraph.

    You're response said it much better than my... "I'm not saying don't ever use them..." :)
     

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