Monday, September 22, 2014

A Brief Musing on a Verb-Change Operation

In short prose or poetry, precise words are needed to convey the mood or message. The shorter the piece, the more precise the words need to be. Verbs choice, in particular, can change a banal sentence into a mysterious one, can make a reader bored or curious. How does that work?

I walked to the store. Nothing particularly new here. You might even ask, "So what?"

But what happens when you change the verb? 

I limped to the store.

I danced to the store.

I flew to the store.

With each verb change, the story changes. The first change implies an injury, the second implies a mood, the third implies either a mood or a fantasy (unless the narrator is a bird). 

"I walked to the store" is not a story, but the last three sentences nearly are. One word makes a difference.


Anonymous said...

Nice little post Alisa, it reminds me of the book 'Elements of Style' bu William Strunk jr and EB White' (I have it sat next to me now). If you've not read it before, you should, it's a fantastic little handbook. ~ Paul

Alisa said...

Thanks, Paul.Have you seen the edition with illustrations by Maira Kalman? Very entertaining.