She said... or She shrieked, she whispered, she yelled, she lisped, she bellowed He walked... or He hobbled, he strode, he strutted, he limped, he pranced They did... or They eviscerated, they surpassed, they glorified, they overcame, they exulted
Verbs enliven language. They are your single greatest weapon against dullness. By adding this one tool to your writing style -- using more verbs -- you will earn your readers' undying gratitude. Of course, you must use nouns when necessary, but when you begin to search for needless nouns, you will find many that could profitably be rewritten as verbs. Why use more verbs? Verbs are active and dynamic. Nouns sit there. Verbs move. Here are a few ways to convert stuffy nouns into zippy verbs:
Eliminate "-ation" Words You can usually find your unnecessary nouns in forms ending with "-ation." Search out all the "-ation" and "-ition" words in your work. Strike out those endings and look to the left. There you will find a verb. Use that instead. For example: Authorize, not give authorization Implement, not proceed with the implementation Consider, not give consideration to
What other –ation words can you think of?
Use the Verbal Form. Another simple way to enliven your writing is to choose the verbal form of words that you can use as either nouns or verbs. These words include thought, use, need and request. For example:
We thought carefully instead of Careful thought was given . . .
Return it after you use it. instead of Return it after each use.
As you requested instead of As per your request
Use Vivid Verbs Why use a pigeon feather when you can choose a tropical toucan? When appropriate, choose colorful, dynamic verbs in place of tired standbys like is, say,and do.
Customers are clamoring for our new product. instead of Customers are interested in our new product.
We are launching a new clothing line. instead of We are introducing a new line of clothing.
Demand for our new product has evaporated. instead of Demand for our new product has gone down.
Granted, at times the pigeon feather is the appropriate garb for the message, but let yourself stretch and have fun with your verb choice whenever you can.
Develop the habit of writing with verbs, and many other writing weaknesses will melt away. You will automatically use the active voice more often and reduce the average length of your sentences. Not only that, your readers will adore you! (or at least be less likely to delete your documents without reading them). Verbs are the motors of language. Drive them!
(c) 1999-2016 Elizabeth Danziger all rights reserved.