Your goal is to replace weak verbs with stronger verbs.
“Be” verbs fall under the weak verb category.
What are some examples of weak verbs?
Be Verbs (avoid these)
Let’s look at an example
Passive Voice: The clouds were in the sky.
Revised with ACTIVE voice: The clouds hung in the sky.
Notice how this student simply replaced were with hung .
Notice the imagery the word hung evokes.
Let’s look at a Fisher Model
For this activity you will be broken down into groups.
Examine my paragraph about my first dance with my husband at our wedding.
Find all of the weak verbs.
Provide suggestions for how my essay might be improved.
It was an awesome moment. We were happy to finally be married. The DJ played, “All my life” by KC and Jojo. It was a little loud in the room, but we were happy to be with each other. We were listening to the song and singing to one another. Being there was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better first dance. The music was romantic. My husband’s embrace was unforgettable. We were in heaven.
The moment finally arrived, our first dance as man and wife. The DJ started the music. With the tap of a button, a new world awaited us. It seemed entirely out of our normal real of reality. All about us the room hummed, but it did not matter to us. The noise quickly faded, as KC and Jojo’s lyrics resounded. We could not help but burst out in song to one another, as we glanced deeply into each other’s eyes. Sometimes, as I listen to that same song, the lyrics take me back to that moment where we shared our first dance.
Notice the difference
They contrast greatly. The reader is able to get more of a sense of what the writer was feeling, thinking, and experiencing in that moment when the “be” verbs were eliminated.
Now it’s your turn!
Turning weak sentences into strong ones!
Practice revising the following sentences:
I am hungry around lunch time.
We were happy to see our friends do so well.
Partner time! Switch your essay with your partner. Comb through the essay. Circle and “be” verbs you see. Once you are finished hand it back to your partners, so they can start to revise.
Re-write those sentences so active voice is featured.