Tag Archives: verbs

Change Nouns Into Verbs

Every time you end a word with —TION, —MENT, —ANCE, and —IZATION you have made a noun.  Nouns can make your writing static. When you change those nouns to active verbs, you immediately zip up your writing.


Before:  Janie’s intention was to surprise her boyfriend with a birthday party.  After: Janie intended to….


Before:  Igor enjoyed the contentment of a warming fire in his humble home.  After:  Igor was contented by….


Before:  Lorenzo achieved dominance at the spelling bee.  After:  Lorenzo dominated….


Before: The realization of her error caused Margo embarrassment.  After: Margo became embarrassed when she realized her error.


Utilization is a noun you can deep 6 forever.  Don’t bother changing it to utilize; that’s just as bad.  Go with use.


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Subject First?

The most common sentence pattern in English is subject + verb + direct object (S+V+DO).  For instance, The dog chewed the bone. But sometimes it’s more interesting to vary the pattern and put the verb first:  Down the street ran the dog.

Try to avoid starting sentences with There is, There are, Here is, Here are.  But if you do use one of those constructions, be aware that the subject is not There or Here.  It will always be the first noun or pronoun after it:

       There is someone knocking at the door.

       Here are the reports you asked for.

       There are two dogs fighting over the bone.

       Here is the book you asked to borrow.


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To Split or Not to Split

I’m sure you have all been warned at some time not to split infinitives when you write.  But do you know what an infinitive is?

It is the form of the verb with to placed before it:

To eat, to sing, to go, to ponder, to do, to split

I am here to give you permission to split any infinitive you choose, as long as your sentence sounds better that way:

To hungrily eat, to lustily sing, to boldly go (the world’s most famous split infinitive), to moodily ponder, to enthusiastically do everything

If you don’t like the way your sentence sounds when splitting the infinitive, just try out the adverb in other places in the sentence, and you will discover the best spot for it.

This so-called rule against splitting infinitives arose because pedants in the mid-18th century thought applying the rules of Latin grammar would result in the best written English.  In Latin, it is impossible to split an infinitive—but English is amenable to it and I hereby give you all permission to do it.

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