Thursday, November 17, 2005

The incredible lightness of being

To be or not to be?
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Blogger Zeno said...

I have always regarded E-prime as an entertaining form of mental discipline. How many sentences can you write before "to be" slips back in of its own accord? Not easy. I do not, however, consider E-prime to provide the sort of mental hygiene that its creators hoped for. Frankly, our problems in communications and our tendency to clump together things that should remain distinct cannot be ascribed to the dreaded verb of equivalency. The advocates of E-prime were simply pioneers in worrying about what "is" is.

6:08 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Nick Barrowman said...

I think I pretty much agree with you. Reducing the reliance on the verb to be seems like it may have some real benefits, but I would hate for this be applied dogmatically! I must say that I found this example quite amusing:

Roses look red;
Violets look blue.
Honey pleases me,
And so do you.

11:05 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger mamegann said...

In fact, if one substituted the appropriate copula verbs into the example, the result becomes:

Roses look red;
Violets look blue.
Honey tastes sweet,
And so do you.

Room, indeed, for misunderstanding.

10:50 PM, November 27, 2005  

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