- For Teachers
Okay, I have a friend in a writers critique group who asked the following...
For the most part, we try to avoid "To Be" verbs, as they are weak. But some times they are necessary. Is my friend correct?'Was' litters my writing and I'm going to have to lose a few hundred of them, I know.
I'm happy to be proved wrong, which is why I'm asking, but to my mind, 'The demon was sitting' is correct, if not the best of style.
'The demon sat', unless it's in the very act of sitting is most definitely incorrect.
So, do you make a grammatically correct sentence, grammatically incorrect, just get rid of the 'was'? Or am I totally wrong?
Thanks so much,
What is wrong with the many possibilities of the verb "to be", why the necessity to avoid using it. I am in favour of the language changing to accomodate changing circumstances but I find the verb "to be" to be more than adequate and flexible for all eventualities.
One of my favourite arguments is that it encourages the writer to take responsibility for their statements. "You are a nerd" becomes "Your behaviour irritates me".
There is also an ontological argument that if we stop automatically equating one thing with another "A is B", we will more likely see the properties of A more clearly.
From my reading, there is some very good prose written in E-Prime, and also some that is quite turgid.
I see no problems with most uses of to be; my prime hate is the over-use of "get".