“To Be or Not To Be?”

Two Students and Laptop

The verb to be is one of the vastly used verbs in the English language. It illustrates a condition of how an object or event is, was, or will be. Case in point, these past two sentences utilized four forms of to be verbs. Although it does not entail errors in writing, to be verbs significantly weaken an author’s message.

Look out for some of these common to be verbs:

am, is, are
was, were
be, been, being
do, does, doing
should, could, would

Implement strong verbs to concisely develop an argument with argument and a clear stance. Words like should, could, and would add uncertainty rather by removing a firm stance on personal opinion in thesis-driven papers. Consider the examples below to model the elimination of to be verbs in your next paper.


Weak: The professor is focusing on grading papers as efficiently as possible this weekend.

Strong:  The professor intends to focus on grading papers efficiently this weekend.

Weak: Society should not allow social media to drive the formation of superficial connections.

Strong: Society’s recognition of social media’s impact on interpersonal interactions reduces superficiality of connections.