§ 13. Use strong, precise verbs. Minimize is, are, was, and were.



Rewrite the following sentences to eliminate the be-verbs:


Rewrite the following passages to eliminate the be-verbs:


In a 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.

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