Use strong, precise verbs. Minimize is, are, was, and were.
the following sentences to eliminate the be-verbs:
- Jones is in agreement with Smith.
- The professional fees in this project are entirely dependent upon
the planning techniques that the client is in favor of implementing.
- The judge is of the opinion that it is within sound judicial
discretion to determine whether, once the claim is asserted, the crime-fraud
exception is applicable.
- Where there is no express agreement, it is ordinarily taken that the
authority was to last for what was a reasonable time in light of all the
the following passages to eliminate the be-verbs:
- There was no light-duty work that was available
at the company. The company's actions were hardly discriminatory when there was
no showing that the company was practicing any type of discriminatory
- Several members were in attendance, and those present were in
agreement that the board's action was violative of the bylaws.
- This evidence is indicative that the company was desirous of
creating a monopoly with the operating system.
- Since there is a limited number of persons with the requisite
skills, it is increasingly difficult for the company to hire personnel who are
piece of published legal writing, find two meaty paragraphs--consecutive
ones--in which be-verbs predominate. Type the paragraphs, preserve an
unedited version, and then revise them to reduce the number of be-verbs
by at least 75%. If you're part of a writing group or class, bring a copy of
the before-and-after versions for each colleague.
- Exercise -
© 2001, Bryan A. Garner
These exercises appear in Bryan A. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with
Exercises, published by The University of Chicago Press and available at bookstores and
on the Web at www.press.uchicago.edu.