Energize your writing with strong verbs
Sometimes editing your writing drains your energy. Sometimes, you take a look at one long, meandering paragraph, and can only think, That’s it. It has spiraled out of control and there’s nothing more I can do. Godspeed, young paragraph. I wish you well.
It’s often helpful to step away for a day, then return to the edits. One thing you can look for when you come back, refreshed and revitalized, is what’s going on with your nouns and verbs.
Verbs are the fuel of writing, the action heroes that give sentences power and direction. When you prioritize verbs, you prioritize action, strength, activity—and energy. See? You’re already feeling perkier!
A lot of times, wordiness happens because of the nounification of verbs. Technically called nominalization, nounification is the act of transforming a perfectly strong verb into a weak noun.
We usually turn verbs into nouns by adding a suffix, which makes the word longer. For example, decide becomes decision.
The verbs deflate, becoming longer and less vibrant.
But then you need other words for your sentence to make sense. You still have to add a verb, plus some articles and prepositions. Decide, which was so strong to start, becomes make a decision.
|decide||decision||We made a decision about which game to play.|
|promote||promotion||We arrived in time to sell a promotion for the new hair dryers.|
|consider||consideration||She took everything into consideration.|
|manage||mangement||This new tool helps provide the management of your copy edits.|
|examine||examination||The investigators conducted an examination of the scene.|
When you could have a much stronger sentence when you emphasize the verb. We don’t have to make a decision. We can just decide.
|Verb||Verb in use|
|decide||We decided which game to play.|
|promote||We arrived in time to promote the new hair dryers.|
|consider||She considered everything.|
|manage||This new tool helps you manage copy edits.|
|examine||The investigators examined the scene|
That’s it! Energy and punch, courtesy of verbs.
What tips do you have in your pocket to re-energize sleepy writing?
This article was reposted on Medium on March 5, 2019
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Header image by @peshtov via Adobe Stock