I was going to write about what I was reading in Word Up!
Boring sentence. Marcia wants powerful sentences. She challenges us to write without extraneous “be-verbs”… be-verbs that lack muscle! (p. 13)
Some examples (14):
Before: “A scheme of which every part promises delight can never be successful.” (Jane Austen)
After: A scheme of which every part promises delight can never succeed.
Before: Our product is better than your product. (any company)
After: Our product eats your product’s lunch.
OR (my version of this)
Before: This house is beautiful.
After: I like this vibrant green house!
Marcia describes three types of be-verbs: the linking verb, the expletive-supporting (“expletive” = “dummy word”) verb (p. 16), and the passive-voice auxiliary. She defines her terms and provides clear examples. But she also gives credence to “the other side”—that there are (oops…a weak linking verb snuck in)…that at times, be-verbs belong. (pp. 16-17)
- Use a linking be when we play with a common expression: “Boring is in the eye of the beholder.”
- Use an expletive-supporting be to evoke melodrama: “It is I, Snidely Whiplash!” (Dudley Do-Right)
- And even the passive-voice auxiliary may have a place when stating an action of an unknown doer: “The wheel was invented around 8000 BC.”
I like Marcia’s style and her honesty. I want to write powerful sentences. Marcia asserts that we’ll “…use fewer and fewer of them [be-verbs] as you fortify your writing.” (p. 18)
These lessons are Wheaties for Writing! So I’ll keep eating…I mean reading … Word Up!
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