Tip #22: Write with Nouns and Verbs
Write with nouns and verbs. No disrespect intended toward the other six parts of speech, but nouns and verbs are the meat and bones of writing. Everything else is garnish. Get your nouns right. Make them concrete and specific. Use cardigan instead of sweater and linebacker instead of football player. Don’t philosophize about suffering when you could introduce your reader to a Marine widow and her fatherless infant. And make your verbs lively. Don’t walk if you can meander or strut. Don’t just hit if you can slap, thump or pummel. Writers should value every word, but wise writers give special attention to nouns and verbs.
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Yes, yes, yes! Strunk and White would agree and so would my dear friend who is a retired prep school English teacher. He would sing Olivia Newton John’s song to his class. “Let’s get physical, physical. . .” 🙂
This is excellent advice as long as writers don’t overdo this and use words that readers have to look up in the dictionary.
But how can a writer know what words his readers would have to look up? And why is that a bad thing? I’ve learned a great number of words by reading them in books and looking them up.
Great wisdom and precise word choice in this post. I preach the same thing: using specific and concrete nouns and active, lively verbs. 🙂 Thanks for the great tip.
You’re welcome. Thanks for the nice words.