Writing Tips for Students: Ditch the “Be” Verbs

to-be-or-not-to-be-hamlet

Verbs are the difference between watching a football game on tv, cheering from the stands, and getting in the game.

Am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been.

Avoid them as much as possible. I’m not saying that they’re forbidden. I’m just saying that they weaken your writing.

Let me illustrate.

Example 1
TV:It was raining all day.
STANDS: The rain poured all day.
CENTER FIELD: The rain pitter pattered on the rooftop all day.

Example 2
TV: It was hot.
STANDS: The sun beamed.
CENTER FIELD: The relentless sun pierced our skin.

Please note how the use of the be verb made the TV sentences bland, colorless, and emotionless. As you use more creative and DESCRIPTIVE verbs, the reader’s vision becomes increasingly vivid. You want your readers’ senses ignited, because reading is hard enough on it’s own. Who wants to read line after line of  an essay written in the capital of Boresville? Plus, coming up with more verbs makes writing more entertaining for you.

Keep in mind, you want people to feel, see, hear, smell, or a combination of any those when they read your writing. That’s what leaves a lasting impression. Next time you have a writing assignment, or if you just like to do it for fun, be sure to put this tip into practice.
I’ll try to give writing tips for students at least once a month. I know academic writing is a different ball game than informal writing, which is what people do most of the time. Unfortunately, most people struggle with writing because they don’t know how. I’ll do my best to help remedy that.

xoxo Kaisha

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