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I find this discussion of e-prime interesting, because the
technique has helped both my writing and that of my students.
I ask them to write a page using one rule: no to be verbs.
The results almost always surprise me by the crispness of
articulation that emerges. Granted, first-time e-prime writers overuse
some of the more common, and less-than-effective, to be-avoidance
techniques, but they learn other methods with practice. This
happened to me, at least. With practice I got the habit of thinking
ahead to the action of the sentence to find the verb.
Basically, following the no-to be rule does in one fell swoop what John
Lanham or Joseph Williams couldn't do in a whole book.
Texas Tech University
dittb -at- ttacs -dot- ttu -dot- edu