Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not 'To Be'

Ilkka posted a paragraph on E-Prime, a form of English syntax with all forms of the verb to be removed. I have noticed the practice greatly improves most writing, though it seems impossible to completely remove the offending verb in many cases. I don't think complete adherence is necessary, but competition would help; if we had a website where we were rated based on the frequency of the occurences I suspect many of us would improve our writing considerably.

Of course, I would also use such a website to help me rate and filter the feeds I read too. If you remember a particularly bad blog post you've read in recent times, go find it and plug the text in here. Then find anything you find passably intelligent and paste that in. You should notice a big different, especially if your bad writer writes about identity at all.

As a side note, notice how avoiding to be, seemingly a secular exercise, to be sure, would result in most of us not saying I am? Wouldn't this be a good idea, from a theological perspective? We might acheive some tiny bit of clarity through this discipline.

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