Verbs

What a scene!

Place looms large in all the work I do—whether in travel writing (when I’m trying to capture the essence of another country or culture), or in narrative journalism (when I often begin with a scene to draw my reader into the story), or even in Facebook status updates (when I try to sketch a place with a few poetic images). Want some tips on writing scenes?

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Tangled up in verbs

If only the phrasal verb had a sexier name. Then you might be as enamored of them as I am. These vexing words are created when a little adverb or preposition hitches a ride with a verb and changes its meaning in the process.

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Conquer these: careen, career, and carom

If you’ve read my books, you know that I split hairs over words. I love nuance, and want to preserve it wherever possible. So I’m unsparing when writers don’t take the trouble to look words up, or when copy editors let loosey goose usage glide on by. Take careen, career, and carom.

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My crush on verbs

How can a person write a whole book just on verbs? Is she crazy? If not, then why has no one else done it before her? When I looked into it, I found a market ripe for an entertaining book on action words. But that’s not why I wanted to write “Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch.” I just had a lot to say about getting tense and being moody, about static sentences and dynamic ones, about the much-maligned passive voice, and about all those myths out there about language generally.

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In a recent post for “Draft Buy Flagyl Without Prescription, ,” the New York Times Opinionator series, I set out to introduce readers to two important categories of verbs: static and dynamic. Herbal Flagyl, Some writers and teachers use the words “passive” and “active” for these categories, but this is confusing, Flagyl alternatives, Is Flagyl addictive, because we also use the words “passive” and “active” when talking about the squishy notion of voice, which I’ll be addressing later in the series, Flagyl used for. Flagyl wiki, What I won’t mention at all in this series—but what some mentioned in the comments after my "Make-or-Break Verbs" post—is a very geeky way of subdividing dynamic verbs into two other categories: stative and nonstative. I go into detail on this in Vex, what is Flagyl, Where can i find Flagyl online, Hex, Smash, online buy Flagyl without a prescription, Flagyl pictures, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing, but if you don’t want to wait until October, Flagyl use, Flagyl duration, when the book comes out, here’s the (brief) lowdown:

Surprise, is Flagyl safe. Flagyl description, Stative verbs—which are sometimes called "state verbs"—describe states: mental states, physical sensations, Flagyl steet value, Where can i cheapest Flagyl online, habits, eternal truths, Flagyl canada, mexico, india, Flagyl online cod, or conditions. By contrast, nonstative verbs describe happenings or events with beginnings and ends, Buy Flagyl Without Prescription.

Stative verbs have no foreseeable endpoint, Flagyl street price. Australia, uk, us, usa, Because we can only use verbs in the progressive tense if they describe events or actions, stative verbs cannot be used in these tenses, Flagyl images, My Flagyl experience, which describe an action while it’s happening. You can say, Flagyl dosage, Effects of Flagyl, I was watering the Venus fly traps, but you cannot say I was knowing Darlene for the past ten years, online Flagyl without a prescription. Flagyl natural, Get the difference.

Here’s a cheatsheet to help you identify stative verbs (not that I can think of why you would ever have to do that):


  • For mental states: exist, real brand Flagyl online, Buy Flagyl no prescription, want, feel, where can i buy cheapest Flagyl online, Flagyl price, think, like, doses Flagyl work, Flagyl from canadian pharmacy, dislike, agree, after Flagyl, Online buying Flagyl hcl, believe, doubt, buy Flagyl without a prescription, Kjøpe Flagyl på nett, köpa Flagyl online, seem, know, Flagyl price, coupon, Order Flagyl online overnight delivery no prescription, imagine, remember, Flagyl class, Flagyl recreational, mind, prefer, purchase Flagyl for sale, need, understand, wish, depend, possess, have, own, promise, suppose, impress, matter, mean, surprise.

  • For physical sensations: see, hear, smell, taste, sound, look, appear.

  • For eternal truths or statements that are timeless: concern, consist, contain, fit, include, involve, measure, weigh, make (numbers), move (the earth), share (geographic borders).

  • For habits, usually expressed in phrases: “I like reading westerns”; “I don’t eat meat or dairy.”


I told you it was geeky. Now you probably understand why I am avoiding this subject in the “Draft” series.

(And here's a shout-out to poet Ava Sayaka Rosen, who researched stative verbs and helped me write this post.).

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Buy Clonidine Without Prescription, Hah. Buy generic Clonidine, you say. What could glamour have to do with grammar, kjøpe Clonidine på nett, köpa Clonidine online. Clonidine maximum dosage, I’ll convince you in a minute, but for now let me just say that I’m not the only one enthralled by the mysteries of syntax, Clonidine used for. Where can i cheapest Clonidine online, I might be the only one so enthralled, though, Clonidine no rx, Buy no prescription Clonidine online, to be writing a new book that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about verbs but were afraid to ask. That research is taking me deep into the library stacks, as I review the history of English, bone up on linguistics, and track down little-known texts, Buy Clonidine Without Prescription. It’s also taking me deep into the narratives of some of my favorite writers, Clonidine pictures, Clonidine cost, who know exactly when and how to deploy those little words to make sentences pulse.

Here, what is Clonidine, Clonidine treatment, for example, is Jonathan Raban, Clonidine for sale, Purchase Clonidine online,  describing the melancholy landscape of Eastern Montana, in Bad Land:

…In forty miles or so I hadn’t seen another vehicle, Clonidine canada, mexico, india. About Clonidine, A warm westerly blew over the prairie, making waves, effects of Clonidine, Clonidine steet value, and when I wound down the window I heard it growl in the dry grass like surf. For gulls, is Clonidine safe, Clonidine blogs, there were killdeer plovers, crying out their name as they wheeled and skidded on the wind, where can i find Clonidine online. Buy Clonidine Without Prescription, Keel-dee-a. Clonidine photos, Keel-dee-a. The surface of the land was as busy as a rough sea—it broke in sandstone outcrops, Clonidine results, Clonidine reviews, low buttes, ragged bluffs, Clonidine wiki, Clonidine samples, hollow combers of bleached clay, and was fissured with waterless creek beds, Clonidine without prescription, Order Clonidine no prescription, ash-white, littered with boulders, Clonidine description. Clonidine no prescription, Brown cows nibbled at their shadows on the open range. In the bottomlands, online buying Clonidine, Where can i buy cheapest Clonidine online, where muddy rivers trickled through the cottonwoods, were fenced rectangles of irrigated green.

Many people wouldn’t think to use so many verbs in a scene description: they wouldn’t think to show us a wind making waves and growling like surf; they wouldn’t hear the killdeer plovers crying out their name and wheeling and skidding, no prescription Clonidine online. They wouldn’t see brown cows nibbling at their shadows and muddy rivers trickling through cottonwoods, Buy Clonidine Without Prescription. Clonidine long term, This is the kind of passage I’m craving.

Do you have a favorite piece of writing, generic Clonidine, Clonidine images, in which a true stylist uses verbs to such exquisite effect. Post it below, buy Clonidine without a prescription, Get Clonidine, in the comments section. Or, Clonidine online cod, Australia, uk, us, usa, if you’re shy, email me (connie-at-sinandsyntax.com), herbal Clonidine. Please cite it properly, with the name of the author, the title of the book (fiction or nonfiction), and the chapter or page number where you found it.

I’d like to offer a little incentive: if it’s really good, so good that I decide to use it in the book, not only will I give you credit for finding it, I will send you a copy of a cool volume that has came across my desk: The Glamour of Grammar, by Roy Peter Clark (New York: Little, Brown, 2010). Clark explains that in Scottish English the word grammar (which once meant mastery of all arts and letters) evolved into glamour (which referred to a mastery of magic and enchantment).

Send me passages with verbs that are all magic and enchantment, and I’ll send you The Glamour of Grammar.

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Verbs.

Vital, is Reglan safe, vibrant, Buy generic Reglan, voluptuous, and, yes, where can i order Reglan without prescription, sometimes vexing verbs. Buy cheap Reglan no rx, Caesar proclaimed “veni, vidi, vinci.” Matthew reminded, Reglan pics, “And the rain descended, Comprar en línea Reglan, comprar Reglan baratos, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not.” Bellow saw in every face in New York “the refinement of one particular motive or essence—I labor, buy Reglan without prescription, I spend, Reglan pictures, I strive, I design, I love, Reglan gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, I cling, Reglan dosage, I uphold, I give way, I envy, Reglan canada, mexico, india, I long, Reglan pharmacy, I scorn, I die, I hide, Reglan wiki, I want.”

Deadwood’s mayor E. Reglan schedule, B. Farnum, when he saw the Widow Garret, said, “She enters,” rather than the “There she is” of lesser mortals, Buy Reglan Without Prescription. And my dog. Well, get Reglan, you’d better believe that Homer understood the commands “sit, Ordering Reglan online, ” “stay,” “heel,” and “fetch.” (He wasn’t so good on “lie down.”)

Verbs have been called everything from “action words” to “the heartbeat of a sentence.” They have even been called The Almighty—by Buckminster Fuller:  “God, order Reglan from mexican pharmacy, to me, Buy generic Reglan, it seems, is a verb, not a noun, australia, uk, us, usa, proper or improper.” Verbs make the fulcrum of every sentence, Reglan dangers, the essence of any story. They put action in scenes, show eccentricity in characters, get Reglan, and convey drama in plots. Where to buy Reglan, Knowing the difference between a paltry verb and a potent one, a static sentence and a dynamic one, the passive voice and the active one, Reglan long term, means knowing how to write purposefully and powerfully. Buy Reglan Without Prescription, In fact, understanding the verb means understanding English itself, for in English more than in other tongues, verbs enjoy a kind of primacy. Reglan duration, Think about it: The word itself comes from the Latin verbum, for “word.” We can’t verbalize without verbs, nor can we boast of verbal dexterity, order Reglan online c.o.d.

Yet, Discount Reglan, for all their primacy and vibrancy, verbs are mostly misunderstood and often misused. Vex, Reglan schedule, Hex, Reglan over the counter, Smash, and Smooch aims to change the way we think about verbs—and about language itself.

Beginning writers often ask me: “What is the one thing that will improve my work?” Aside from the obvious answer—read more, no prescription Reglan online, write more—I tell them to bone up on verbs.

Vex, Hex will take writers from the basics (static and dynamic verbs) to the esoteric (the indicative, the imperative, and the oh so subjunctive), Buy Reglan Without Prescription. Reglan wiki, It will set writers straight on objects and why it’s easy to use who and whom correctly. It upends conventional notions of verbs, sentences, Reglan for sale, and literature itself, Reglan australia, uk, us, usa, marching from Caesar to Sorenson, from Woolf to The Wolfman, from Dickens to Didion, japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, from Hemingway to JFK. Reglan without a prescription, And we won’t forget rappers like Dr. Dre, or TV writers like David Milch (Deadwood) and David Simon (The Wire), buy Reglan without prescription.

Buy Reglan Without Prescription, Vex, Hex also helps writers reinterpret the old rules for the new media landscape. The books show how verbs figure into the 140-character messages of Twitter and how they can elevate blogs into literature. Reglan no rx, (Or at least something worth reading.) This is a book for every writer trying to figure out how to rise above the digital din by crafting prose that is lean, powerful, and punchy.


Doesn’t it sound like fun. Look for it in fall 2011. In the meantime, I'll be creating a page here and inviting you to send in your favorite examples of writers who get verbs and how to use them to perk up their prose.

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Here’s how Wikipedia defines the game: “Exquisite corpse is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled, the result being known as the exquisite corpse or cadavre exquis in French, Proscar pictures. Proscar natural, Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule (e.g, cheap Proscar no rx. No prescription Proscar online, "The adjective noun adverb verb the adjective noun") or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed.”

OK, I’ll grant you that we didn’t exactly turn 109 Sever Hall at Harvard University into 54 rue du Chateau in Paris, buy Proscar without a prescription. Where can i buy cheapest Proscar online, But following the rule Subject/Transitive Verb/Direct Object we gave the Exquisite Corpse a good try, coming up with:


  • The coffee beans sautéed the rooster.

  • Vampires borrow snow.

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Changing the rule to Subject/Static Verb/Complement, Proscar steet value, Proscar images, we got:

  • The Easter Bunny is upset.

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