By Darin L. Hammond
School Time Verbs
These words made my eyes roll into the back of my skull in public education: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, etc. In fact, they still numb my mind, and as an English professor I avoid them as much as possible. They turn language into a perverse form of mathematics. Grammar turns students off.
In school we get so caught up in identifying subjects and verbs that we forget the language, the beauty and power of unique sentences. Worksheet after worksheet in school made mundane work of language.
Verbs Defined, Boring
Technically, the definition of verbs makes them boring because they are a part of speech or a piece of language. Verbs capture an action, an occurrence, where a state of being.
Verbs in Action Are Powerful
Avoiding state of being verbs makes your titles and your writing more powerful. Rather than saying that "social media is important" (a state of being), you grab attention by saying "social media rocks marketing" (an action). Action verbs do something, and therefore they create movement in the minds of readers.
Instead of skipping over your title, or ignoring it altogether, a power verb arrests readers, forcing them to pause. Ask yourself the question: Do my words express action? If they aren't acting, then revise and choose more powerful, active words.
Verbs and Word Combinations to Eschew (Avoid)
I will not give you hard fast rules on what words to avoid, but flexible guidelines that will make your language more powerful. In general, avoid:
Verbs to Select
Work to include verbs that embody power, vitality, and engagement. When possible, stimulate the senses of the reader with your verbs.
I hope this helps you to write more powerful titles, articles, emails, and all other items that you create on a daily basis.