Essential lesson #13 from Of Is and By: how to be a better writer overnight #PR #copy #humberpr
Learn the auxiliary verbs and how to upgrade them to stronger, more expressive words. These include has, had, get, got, is, are, was and took and taken, among others.
English, with its French and Anglo-Saxon inheritance, offers numerous evocative verbs, so why use the weakest ones? Saying “I had a cold and she got me some chicken soup” indicates very little about a person’s education or writing competence. Perfectly understandable, it might come out of a high school student or a PhD in English. Even so, it can be more impactful.
Several possible versions
- I was suffering from a cold and she made me chicken soup.
- Suffering from a cold, I was relieved when she made me chicken soup.
Some more examples
- The museum had an exhibition of Picasso’s works.
- The museum mounted an exhibition of Picasso’s works.
- He has a bad case of the flu.
- He suffered from a bad flu. (Don’t need ‘a case of).’
- I get a dozen fresh eggs at the farmer’s market each week.
- I buy (or purchase) a dozen fresh eggs at the farmer’s market each week.
Was (for more on “is,” review Chapter II).
- My father was in World War II
- My father fought in World War II.
- Now that the poll had been taken, the numbers were clear
- Now that the poll had been tabulated, the numbers became clear.
- She took three carrots from the bunch
- She picked three carrots from the bunch