The stronger the verbs you use, the more meaningful your sentences become. Unfortunately, too many folks are too accustomed to using weak verbs that they end up littering their writing with them.
Here are things you should avoid to minimize weak verbs in your writing:
- There is/ there are/ it is: While grammatically correct, they make for boring, elementary expressions. If you want your writing to sound better than a grade school paper, minimize their use.
- Have/ has: Forms of the verb “to have” are very prone to overuse. They’re too easy to default into when describing the characteristics of a subject, as they’re the verbs we naturally use when rattling off a list of qualities.
- Verb plus noun: Some verb/noun combinations can be replaced by a single verb that expresses the same idea. Examples: “ate like a pig” can be replaced with “pigged out”; “shed tears” can be replaced with “cried”; and “set on fire” can be replaced with “torched.”
- Is/Are/Was/Were/To be: These forms of the verb “to be” automatically create passive sentences, which often result in weaker and wordier sentences. With passive sentences, you get a bunch of unnecessary words literally getting in the way.