Spend your money on this. 

Devote your time on that.

Solicited and unsolicited investment advice abounds, especially at the start of a new year. As someone who appreciates straightforward, no-strings-attached strategies, I offer a solid tip to boost your writing and speaking:

Invest in verbs.

Spot-on verbs speak volumes and leave lasting impressions.

Run with that insight or maximize your returns by reading the following guidelines for choosing and using effective verbs:

1. Choose active voice over passive voice.
A sentence expresses active voice when the subject performs or causes the action. In passive voice, the subject receives the action, indicative of the preposition by. Active voice relays a more committed, direct message.

Passive Voice: The proposal was rejected by the board.
Active Voice: The board rejected the proposal.

Passive Voice: Determined by a majority vote, the win was John's.
Active Voice: A majority vote determined John’s win.

2. Restructure sentences to eliminate auxiliary (helping) verbs, such as am, is, are, was, were, would, could, should, must, might, can and will.
Removing the helping verb fosters precision and fortifies the impact.

Auxiliary Verb Added: Having back-to-back sales has depleted the store's inventory.
One Verb: Back-to-back sales depleted the store's inventory.

Auxiliary Verb Added: My fifth-grade class is interested in fossils.
One Verb: Fossils interest my fifth-grade class.

3. Choose self-reliant verbs.
A self-reliant verb portrays action without need for embellishment.

Adverb Added: I walked softly to avoid waking the baby.
One Verb: I tiptoed to avoid waking the baby.

Multiple Words: Bob made a lot of noise while eating his soup.
One Verb: Bob slurped his soup.

Countless verbs lie in wait to replace the overused action words that clog our vocabularies. When stuck in a rut, I search online. Landing on a great option sometimes takes a minute or two of patience, but the investment pays good dividends.


Thoughts or questions? Please contact Sallie Boyles, owner of Write Lady Inc., to exchange ideas about effective communications and gain from professional writing and editing services. Receive monthly tips and insights by subscribing at https://WriteLady.com