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"To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

"To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

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triplethreat99
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"To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby triplethreat99 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:19 am

Hello fellow writers, I have a problem that I cannot find an answer for. When I write, I use the words "was" and "where" quite often. I also use words like movING and fightING. Essentially, words that end with the ING letters. I joined a critique group and some of the people that critiqued my work told me I should not use
"to be" verbs like: was, where, became, etc... I was also told i should not use words that end with "ing" because they are the tell tell signs of passive tense. They said I am telling the story instead of showing the story. So I been trying to minimize my use of "was" and "ing" words. This has severely slowed own my writing as I have to find ways to rephrase sentences. A sentence that previously read: He was moving at an amazing speed is changed to, He moved at an unparallel speed. However, I read a lot YA and adult boks that use the "was" verb like there was no tomorrow. There are some pages that have the word "was" over ten times. IN ONE PAGE! Its not only one book. There are a lot of books I read that use the words "was" and "where" and "ing" words thrughout the entire book. IM confused. Why am I being told to not use "was", "where", and "ing" words when succesful authors are doing it, and getting published. Please help! :?

P.S Just to put it into reference. This is like telling an aspiring baketball player that in order to play in the NBA he must only dribble with one hand or he wil never make it to the big leagues. HOwever, that aspiring basketball player then watches most of the succesful NBA players dribble with both hands. Naturally, that aspiring basketball player is going to ask himself, "Why are people telling me that IfI dribble with both hands I wont make it to the NBA, when all te NBA players are doing it?"

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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby pls » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:35 am

Good question. Avoid OVERusing participles ("-ing" words), as they have to be used with "to be" verbs - was, were, is, etc. These are all what I call "dead" verbs which denote no action; they are intransitive verbs, usually, and serve only as "placeholders" in lieu of more active verbs.

Another verbal to avoid is "there is", "there was", etc. Same problem.

Why do novels which overuse these verbs sell? Dunno. Why did "Night Circus", which is replete with comma errors, especially comma splices, and even the wrong words ("though" for "although") ever get published? Who knows? Probably for about the same reason that "Fifty Shades of Grey" and the "Twilight" series are in print. They all appeal to the lowest-common-denominator readers, who probably couldn't care less about split infinitives or grammar problems. They just want to read a good story.

And that's all I'm going to say about that. Some of my best friends are lowest-common-denominator readers, and I don't want them to come after me with blunt sticks.
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triplethreat99
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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby triplethreat99 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:16 pm

SO preety much I should just keep on using "was" and "ing" words since they are obvciously not an important factor to many agants and publishing houses.

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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby pls » Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:45 pm

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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby updog » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:54 pm

Most people are idiots. Don't listen to them.
"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



triplethreat99
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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby triplethreat99 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:11 am


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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby kankowitz » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:31 am

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updog
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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby updog » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:45 pm

"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



triplethreat99
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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby triplethreat99 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:59 pm

Thank you all for your tips. :D

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Re: "To be verbs" and "ing" words- PLEASE HELP

Postby Twix1 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:31 pm

Your sentence about how he moved is an example of telling rather than showing. Instead of telling us that he moved with amazing speed, show your reader how he moved.

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