Monday, November 15, 2010


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.


  1. OMG! That paper definitely has the measles! Thanks for the gentle reminder as I struggle to pull together my final papers this semester. ;-)

  2. I'll have to remember that. :)

  3. Great tip! I am correcting papers for the next few weeks (about 200 of them, cringe!) - so that is a very useful idea indeed! Let's correct!

  4. Hi VB -
    Neither groped nor radiated in our travels. We passed right by the big fancy scanners, not selected for the special treatment. Whew.

    Since the Continental/United merger, you now have to pay for your food on the flight. While you do have to pay, the food selection is better.

    Thanks for the love. My contacts got all messed up in a phone incident. I havent gotten them reloaded, so I didn't send out my usual text.