What are "to-be" verbs?“To-be” verbs: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been; state of being verbs
The ChallengeEliminate as many "to-be" verbs from your writing as possible.
What's the deal with "to-be" verbs?
- Vague implications. Example: Be quiet. Better: Do not raise your voice indoors.
- Absolute. Example: Girls with blonde hair are dizzy. Explanation: Blonde hair and gender are not requirements for dizziness.
- Dull, wordy, not expressive, and leads to passive sentences. Example: He was feeling sad by the news of his grandmother's death. Better: Saddened by the news of his grandmother's untimely death, he wept.
- Conveys permanence. Example: I am thirsty. Explanation: Unless you find yourself in a constant state of thirst, the sentence is inaccurate.
Combating the "to-be" verbsCircle or highlight all "to-be" verbs in your writing.
Prevent passive sentences by making the "doer" the subject.
Find a stronger verb to replace the "to-verb" verb. Example: She was pretty in her pink dress. Better: She looked pretty in her pink dress. Try using other linking verbs such: look, seem, feel, became, remain, smell, taste....
Do not begin a sentence with "there is", "there are", "this is", or "it is".
Combine sentences to create one concise thought. Example: She was in love. She felt scared that he was not in love her with her. Better: Frightened he did not love her, she concealed her love.