To BE or not to BE: Reduce “to be” verbs to improve your writing









Developing writers often rely on “to be” verbs when communicating action. To-be verbs are all forms of “be”: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, and been. In some student papers, English teachers might find “is” as the verb in the majority of sentences. Even professional writers struggle with the over-reliance on “is” as a verb. So what is so wrong with using “is” and other to-be verbs in writing? Oh dear! I just used is as a verb in that last sentence!

Take a look at the following example:

The girl is pretty.

What does “pretty” look like? Is creates a vague description. What does the girl’s pretty actually look like?

The girl has flowing auburn hair, crimson lips, and eyes I could drown in for days.

In the first example, the is verb creates a lazy sentence; it isn’t showing the…

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Grammar Tip of the Week – 10/07/13

My Language Bubble

Wednesday – Mi casa es su casa.
Literally translated, this means “my house is YOUR house”…but when it’s used in conversation, the intent is more like “make yourself at home!”.  It’s a polite gesture, said to people visiting, to let them know they’re welcome.  Interestingly enough though, grammatically, the “su” includes HIS house, HER house, THEIR house, Y’ALL’S  house – cuz SU means all those things too – pretty much everyone’s house besides your own and whoever you’re already sharing it with.  No wonder why everyone’s always there!   Ja Ja Ja!!!

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