Using Strong Verbs

“Forward motion in any piece of writing is carried by verbs.” William Sloane

“The core of our language is the verb, the word that denotes an action, whether transitive, intransitive, or reflexive.” William Sloane

“Passive verb forms often signal authorial hedging or limpness of thinking.” William Sloane

During my three day workshop in Listowel, I noted that the poems that really stood out used strong verbs. Poets know that each word holds so much weight so they use strong verbs to strengthen their thought.
In Judy Delton’s book The 29 Most Common Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them), #9 is Don’t Depend on Adjectives. Use Strong Verbs.
Judy writes “…many beginning writers (and some “ending” writers) still believe that the strength of effective writing is in lining up modifier after modifier in front of a noun, that the more pretty descriptive words, the better. Actually the exact opposite is true. Adjectives weaken;the fewer you use in an article or story, the better.”
Today look for strong verbs in your writing or compose a list of strong verbs from books or newspapers. See how the verb carries the sentence more than an adjective. Also look for your use of passive verbs, how could you change the sentence by using an active verb. See the strength of your words.Now get back to work!
The Writing Nag

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2 Replies to “Using Strong Verbs”

  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog. So good to know I’m making a difference. God I wish I had more time to write.

  2. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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