Then it’s time to beef them up! Let’s get your brain in the gym!
- Eliminate weak verbs from you sentences. -Replace weak verbs with strong verbs. Hi! I’m Sven, your sentences’ personal trainer. I am going to pump up your sentences in two ways!
Using weak verbs in your sentences is like beating someone with a wet noodle! It’s weak! Let’s start with getting rid of your flabby weak verbs and replacing them with beefy strong verbs! Be very afraid! Prepare for your licking!
What is a verb? Every sentence must contain at least one verb. Verbs express actions, events, or states of being. What are the verbs in the following sentences? Derrick dove to the ground as the bullets whizzed overhead. Francisca loved her teddy bear until it fell apart. I will give you the package tomorrow. We were stunned when we heard the news. A verb is not always one word long. Sometimes several words together act as the verb. This is called a “verb phrase.”
What are weak verbs? While all verbs are supposed to show action, some don’t do it very well. Weak verbs and weak verb phrases don’t really show action. Examples: Were Is Are Was Would Have been Could have been Should have been Had been Will be Weak Verb Phrases
In contrast, strong verbs show action! EXPLODE! PUNCH! BOUNCE! FLY!!! TOAST!
An Important Note! Just because a sentence contains these words: Were Is Are Was Would Have been Could have been Should have been Had been Will be Does not necessarily means they are weak verbs!!! For Example: We were hoping for a snow day today. Daniel is asking his boss for a raise. I should have been practicing for the show instead of shopping. We will be looking for a replacement player this summer. I was watching TV when the doorbell rang. The coaches are requiring two practices a day. These words in red are NOT weak verbs. Here they are acting as “helping verbs.” They come before another verb to form a different verb tense.
Examples: Tara is afraid of spiders I could have been more careful with who I trusted. Sheila will be sorry when she finds out. The defendant was guilty on all charges. We are so tired of eating tuna casserole. Sarah was surprised to find the flowers in the kitchen. Notice how these verbs stand alone. Weak verbs occur when the verbs we just looked at stand alone. They are not helping another verb. They ARE the verb.
Examples Mummifying your cat is a great way to forever preserve an old friend. Mummifying your cat forever preserves an old friend. Check out how weak and out of shape these sentences are! This sentence is as dry as me! Bring it back to life! Ahh, much better. Now I don’t have to put a curse on you in which you will smell like kitty litter all of your days.
One of the wild things about Sheila is her collection of zebra print pants. Sheila’s collection of zebra print pants shows her wild side. These pants are hot, but the sentence lacks action. Get rid of the weak verbs, and add some strong verb pizzazz!
The aliens were not impressed with the human brain. The aliens laughed at the human brain. This section is dedicated to watching “American Idol,” this section is used for consuming Cheetos….” Much better! But I am still going to eat your brain! Just kidding…how about a hug instead?
HELP!!! Save me strong verbs, save me!!! Those weak verbs were bad, but some weak verbs and phrases can practically stop the heart of your sentences! “It is…” “It was..” “It will be…” “There is…” “There are…” “There was…” “There were…” “There will be…” “There could be…”
These bland, weak verb phrases lack any action at all. “It is…” “It was….” “It will be…” “There is….” “There are…” “There was…” “There were…” “There will be….” “There could be…”
For Example There is a myth that cows can be tipped over while they are sleeping. It is, however, not true. A myth exists that people can tip over cows while they are sleeping. Scientists have debunked this theory, however. These sentences are “udderly” boring. But there’s no crying over spilled milk! Improve them by replacing the weak verbs with strong ones!
For Example There was actually a study done on cow tipping. The study found that there are two reasons that cow tipping is nearly impossible. Scientists actually studied cow tipping. They uncovered two reasons cow tipping is nearly impossible.
The weight of the cow and the fact that cows do not sleep standing up are two reasons that cow tipping is challenging. Both the weight of the cow and the fact that cows do not sleep standing up make cow tipping challenging. I sleep with one eye open buddy!!!
Your sentences are really firming up. But we’re not done yet! There are some more weak verbs to cut out of your diet! So start working up a sweat! I hope he is not talking to me! I like it here on the sofa! Of course I am talking to you couch potato! Get moving or get down and give me 15 pushups! Oh well, I better do what Sven says.
“To be” adds unnecessary weight to your sentences. “To be” should only be used in a sentence if it is necessary to the meaning of the sentence. For example: “I want to be a mailman when I grow up.” But if “to be” is not necessary to the sentence and removing it would not change the meaning of the sentence, then remove it. “To be”
For example Most children find clowns to be frightening. Most children find clowns frightening. Alright, quit clowning around and fix this sentence!
Example Babe Ruth is considered to be one the best baseball players in history. Baseball fans consider Babe Ruth one of the best players in history.
Example Fred continued to be obsessed with Star Wars even after his girlfriend dumped him because of it. Fred’s obsession with Star Wars continued even after his girlfriend dumped him because of it.
Whew! We’ve really worked up a sweat! You have now learned how to whip your sentences into shape and make them lean and mean. Let’s do one more workout together to practice your skills! In the following sentences, remove the weak verbs and weak verb phrases, and replace them with strong verbs.
Practice It is really a shame Americans don’t get as much vacation time as Europeans do. Unfortunately, Americans don’t get as much vacation time as Europeans. How can we correct this sentence?
Practice Authentic pizza and bagels are the things I miss about New York. I miss New York’s authentic pizza and bagels.
There is something really appealing about pirates. Pirates really appeal to people.
Practice To be accepted by that sorority a woman must be pretty and rich. That sorority only accepts pretty and rich women.
Practice Playing Twister at parties is a really fun activity. We really enjoy playing Twister at parties.
Practice It is rare to see shooting stars. We rarely see shooting stars.
Practice There is something really tacky about wearing white to a wedding. Most people consider wearing white to a wedding very tacky.
Practice Even though Tulsa is a nice city, there aren’t many things to do here. Even though Tulsa possesses many great qualities, it lacks excitement.
Strong Verbs Those were some killer workouts! Now all you need is a delicious strong verb protein shake to help your grammar muscles recover.
Drink up! And be ready to hit the gym tomorrow!! I know, I know Sven. If I don’t exercise I can’t maintain my stunning physique. I have to keep active!