E-Prime

What on earth is E-Prime, you ask? E-Prime is simply a term for using English without "to be" verbs (be, am, is, are, was, were, been, become....). While I was at the college writing thing, I went to a class on this. Using E-Prime is a way to get your reader more engaged, and spice up your sentences. In this class, I was taught that using a good verb makes all of the difference, allowing you to write more interesting and livelier stuff.

*NOTE: Besides not using "to be" verbs, avoid using weak replacements of them, because this will only hinder your writing. Such replacements are: seems, looks, appears, and has. Also, beware of using contractions that have a "to be" verb in them.

Now, we all want our readers to love what we write. We want them to be itching for the next sentence, the next chapter. To do that we must make them feel the energy coming from our words. So....how about adding an exclamation point? Surely that will make it more exciting! WRONG. Exclamation points don't really help with that. Then.....can we add a "very" to add some emphasis? That's gotta work! Nope. Makes it worse. Get "very" out of your vocabulary. Go. Do it. There's a cute little purple garbage can on your left. Yes, that's the one.

When you use a good verb, your reader's brain reacts in the same way as if they were actually doing that verb.

When you see the world "crash" what do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Touch? Taste?

What about the word "sprint"? What senses are you getting?

When using verbs, be creative and don't use the same phrase over, and over, and over again.

Also, instead of saying "Jon is unhappy," which uses a "to be" verb, what could we use instead? Don't use a "to be" verb. Think about why Jon is unhappy.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

Instead of "Jon is unhappy," we could say, "Jon felt betrayed." See how much more questions and things pop up into you mind when reading the second one?

So, readers. Care to try your hand at E-Prime?

Comments

  1. Hmm. That's interesting. My English book has been talking about this lately.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah yes... E-Prime. You did well explaining it. I liked that class.
    ~A.J. Ryan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I liked that class too. (Especially because of certain chocolate pretzels.)

      Delete

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