Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Zap the "to be" verbs

Not until I started working for a marketing firm (yes!) did I realize the full insidiousness of "to be" verbs. Not only do they make your prose static, they can obscure the true meaning of your sentence by preventing you from finding the right verb--and with it, the right noun(s), adjective(s), adverb(s), and phrasing. I've noticed that, particularly when I write in a rush, "to be" verbs proliferate--because I don't take the time to ponder exactly what I want to say. And maybe that kind of rushing works for a first draft, when you don't want to pause and ponder, but simply "get it down." But during revisions, you can make a lot of amazing improvements by scrutinizing and replacing "to be" whenever possible.

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