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  • Dr. V

Vigorous Verbs!

In every sentence, verbs express the action being performed in the sentence. Sometimes, this action is active; at other times, the action is not active (as in the case of being verbs).


A mistake all writers should avoid is using a non-active verb when an active, vigorous verb can or should be used. See the sentences below for an example of this mistake. Sentence: The present study IS AN EXTENSION OF Johnson’s work on masculinity.


Edited Sentence: The present study EXTENDS Johnson’s work on masculinity.


Explanation: The initial sentence includes the verb “is,” which is a being verb; these verbs do not express an activity, occurrence or action. Instead, they show a state of existence, or “being.” However, the true action in the initial sentence above is not a state of being. Therefore, in the edited sentence, the being verb has been deleted so that the true verb can be expressed (the noun “extension” is changed to the verb “extends”).

Notice that the edit not only foregrounds the true verb but also makes the sentence more concise be deleting three words. When editing documents, review your verb usage to ensure that you have utilized as many vigorous verbs as possible.


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