November 15, 2010
I hope to climb out of the grading well before next weekend arrives. Right now, I'm mired in mid-term papers (41 of them. . .each 7-10 pages). Here's a hint:
If you circle all the forms of the "to be" verbs in any ten consecutive sentences of your paper, your paper shouldn't look like it has the measles. The twenty little circles pictured here far exceeds expectations.
A friend of mine named Harold taught me this rule about passive writing.
He went on to illustrate it for me so I would never forget. "Don't bore your reader," he explained, "by saying 'Mary is sick.' While perhaps true and perfectly accurate, a livelier approach uses the right action verb to catch the reader's attention and propel your essay forward. Instead write: 'Mary vomited.'"
Now you know the other reason why Let's Do It! always tries to choose the right verb as its title. Think of it as The Power of the Verb.