Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why I Like E-Prime

Slow Release of the Day 18 x 36" oil on linen
© 2007 Katherine Kean

One of my favorite topics is English Prime. E-Prime is a modification of the English language that abolishes all forms of the verb to be: is, am, are, was, were, etc. A few reasons why I am such a big fan follow:

The elimination of the passive voice creates less confusion distinguishing statements of opinion from statements of fact. “I feel cold” instead of “It is cold.”

As well as providing clarity using E-Prime lessens conflict. “I feel I have finished” instead of “It is done.”

This type of communication alleviates a bit the hypnotic power of metaphor used so effectively by advertisers and politicians. “It appears to me that we should take action.” instead of “It is clear that we should take action.”

A change in language brings a change in perception, including how a person thinks of himself or herself. Instead of “I am sad”, I feel sad.” The sadness still exists, but seems like less of a permanent condition.

Although I find it difficult to remember to write and speak in E-Prime in most situations, I do find it an effective tool to have when listening to others.

Related Links:


Dianne Poinski said...

Katherine, this is so interesting. I had never heard of E-Prime and now I want to find out more. Thanks for the links.

By the way, I love "Slow Release of the Day". Beautiful and so calming.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Diane beat me to this, but I have never heard of E-Prime, either. In your examples, the sensations evoked when wording a statement using the E-Prime principle is amazing. Thanks for the information.

Katherine Kean said...

Thanks Dianne! Enjoy the links - I find it really interesting too.

Hi Marianne - I usually feel more comforable hearing E-Prime. I wish I were beter at speaking it!

Katherine Kean said...

And it would be wonderful if I were better at spelling too!

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