Verbs: instructions for use

Verbs? You may ask, “Are we back in elementary school?” No, we are still talking about simple, useful writing tips.

First: whenever you can, always use verbs in their active form. The golden rule says to use the passive form only when the subject doing the action is unknown or if the object receiving the action is more important than the agent doing the action.

Second: use verbs more than nouns. They are shorter, stronger and more expressive. They are also more “vital” and describe the action that is happening. For example: notice the difference between “Our departure was set for eight o’clock.” and “We left at eight o’clock.” Or the difference between: “The group’s attention was very high.” and “The group was very attentive.” In the former examples, we have an abstract concept, while in the latter ones we have a live subject carrying out a live action.

It is not obligatory to use one over the other but pay close attention and choose wisely.

Claudio Visentin and Guido Bosticco

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