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Thursday, 06 October 2016 23:13

Juice Up Your Verbs

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Verbs propel your sentences.
Strong ones drive you along. Weak ones? You run out of gas.
Recently in one of our online writing classes with, we discussed verbs and ways to power them up. In short, try to avoid "be" verbs. Those are verbs like: am, is, was, were, are, being, etc. Using them is not "wrong," (see, I just used "is.") and sometimes you cannot avoid it. But use "be" verbs too much, and your writing will sound sluggish...third-gradish even. Instead, try one of these tricks. 1. Rather than the old "be-verb + Adjective" pattern, actually try to describe the scene. For example: 

- I was very excited when we got to Universal Studios. (Dull) My heart pounded and my blood pulsed in my veins as we approached the gate of Universal Studios. (Better!)

universal studios
- I was bored when my Playstation 3 broke. (Dull) The times that were originally for games and entertainment were filled with staring into space instead. (Better!)
- Della was scared and lacked confidence on test day. (Dull) Della kept biting her nails and twirling her hair like black spaghetti as she watched the clock. (Better!)

2. Take words we normally see as nouns, and use them as verbs. Examples:
  - There was a long line around the stadium. A long line snaked around the stadium.
  - My little brother always repeats what I say. My little brother always parrots what I say.
  -  I hate it when my boss brags about his successful career. I hate it when my boss crows about his successful career.
  -  A bird was flying in circles over my house. A bird circled over my house.
  - Bryan ate his breakfast very quickly. Bryan wolfed down his breakfast.
  - Make your verbs more powerful. Juice up your verbs! (Note: this post's title.) *****************

Join and juice up YOUR English skills!

Read 8069 times Last modified on Friday, 28 July 2017 19:06
Scott Dreyer

A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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