Verbs, aka action words, have the power to imbue your writing with energy, and even create a sense of mood. In the following excerpt (from a college essay written by H. Charles), notice how the verbs we’ve bolded bring the passage to life.
Without realizing it, we often fall back on the most common “to be” verbs (am, are, was, is, were, been, being). While these have their time and place, it’s critical that as writers, we select our verbs intentionally to make the picture in our head feel real to the reader.
- In your draft, highlight every “to be” verb (am, are, was, is, were, been, being).
- Now see if you can replace some of these words with verbs that are more interesting and revealing
* This exercise can also be done with a hard copy. With a pen or pencil, circle every “to be” verb, and then consider what replacements you might make.
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