6 August 2009
Verbs convey strength – action – movement. Or at least they should.
though, we weaken verbs. We change
a strong verb into its noun form and combine it with a weaker verb, like
this: Please make application for reimbursement to the Finance Department.
Why not say, ‘Please apply for reimbursement to
the Finance Department’?
Why not say, ‘Please apply for reimbursement to the Finance Department’?
Here are more examples of weak verb forms:
- give a briefing
- give a report
- make a presentation
- draw a conclusion
- conduct an analysis
- do an evaluation.
And here are their
strong forms: brief, report,
present, conclude, analyse, evaluate.
And here are their strong forms: brief, report, present, conclude, analyse, evaluate.
Why do people tend to use ‘anaemic’ verbs? Perhaps some writers think that it sounds more official – more formal.
Personally, I find weak verbs tiring, just another weak excuse for wordiness.
By using a strong verb, you cut out two-thirds of the words. You also convey strength and action. Focusing on action helps to move the text along.
Publication coach Daphne Grey Grant describes a good strong verb as being ‘like a power-lifter -- it will carry an otherwise unwieldy sentence with ease’.
So give your ideas a ‘power lift’ by using strong verbs – yet another way to provide platinum level service to your readers.