A challenge for you: try writing three paragraphs without using the word “is.”Â This tiny word has such a powerful role in our language that nearly nothing can be said without it. It can, however, become a crutch or even worse a blockade to the creative imagery needed to make a piece come alive. Falling back on it over and over precludes the use of more interesting and descriptive words that add color and depth to a sentence.
- He is weary.Â He grew weary.
- He is sick.Â He sounds sick.
- The chocolate cake is delicious.Â The chocolate cake tastes delicious. (Now, I want chocolate cake.)
- Dog poop is disgusting.Â Dog poop looks and smells disgusting. (Good luck getting that image out of your head.)
For the wanna-be grammar geeks, “is” and “are” along with their past tenses “was” and “were” are linking verbs that connect a subject to an adjective. The more you understand about grammar, the more control you will have over your sentences and revisions. Now, when you encounter “is” and “was” you can decide if there are better options.