Avoid using "to be" verbs like is, was, were, am and are. Instead use active verbs like depicts, encourages, recommends, illustrates, embodies, conjures, resembles or typifies. Active verbs offer so much more life to your sentences and ultimately enhance your message. In addition, you use fewer words if you use active verbs. Wordiness serves to confuse your reader while concisely written sentences and paragraphs better communicate your intent.
- Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is one of his most famous art pieces. The woman in the painting has always been in the center of much speculation and analysis.
- The Mona Lisa, one of Leonardo Da Vinci's most famous art pieces, provokes much speculation and analysis.
- The author was telling his arduous journey through the jungles of Brazil.
- The author describes his arduous journey through the jungles of Brazil.
- There are many reasons why I prefer visiting rural rather than urban areas.
- I prefer visiting rural rather than urban areas for many reasons.
EXAMPLEDo you see and hear the difference?
- The book is about a family who is spending Christmas together after many years of separation.
- The author recounts the story of a family who gathers for Christmas after many years of separation.
List of Active Verbs from Boston College
List of Active Verbs from Write Express
List of Active Verbs from Harvard Law School