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Some good reasons to watch out for how you use the verb “to be”

Overuse of the verb “to be” increases wordiness, flattens your style and can make your writing sound lazy and your text dull and boring to read.  

The verb “to be” can be found in the following types of expressions:
 – There is/are; there was/were; it is/was or they are/were.  (Dead beginnings)     

– The project proposal was developed by the team.  (Passive voice)                                         
– It was at the meeting that … It was my manager who … It is important/crucial that …
(Emphatic expressions or cleft sentences)

See if you can rephrase the following sentences by removing the verb “to be” so that they sound more dynamic. The “dead” expressions are underlined. Sometimes you can delete them.

  1. In 2024, there will be 122,221 children who will receive the zero-dose vaccination.
  2. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the supply side.
  3. It is recommended to start with general information and then narrow it down to some concrete aspects.
  4. Therefore, it’s important to consider what are the most critical technical areas or system changes that the Government plans to push forward to be included in the recommendations.
  5. So, it is essential that you take your time to ensure a quality report.

Answer key (other solutions are also possible)

  1. In 2024, there will be 122,221 children who will receive the zero-dose vaccination.
  2. It is recommended to start We recommend starting /Start with general information and then narrow it down to some concrete aspects.
  3. Therefore, it is necessary we need to strengthen the supply side.
  4. Therefore, it’s important to consider including in the recommendations what are the most critical technical areas or system changes that the Government plans to push forward. to be included in the recommendations.
  5. So, it is essential that.Thus, you take your time to ensure a quality report.

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Carol Waites (PhD)
Email:  carolswritingtips@gmail.com

For more writing tips, consult my website:
https://carolswritingtips.com/writingtips/

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Presentation/editing by Christina O’Shaughnessy (editor)
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