Peer to Peer Magazine

Winter 2014

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Verbs are a writer's best friend. They provide strength and clarity and keep your readers engaged. Don't confuse, irritate and bore your readers by turning your strong verbs into weak nouns. Gary's writing expertise and keen wit are evident in this lesson. May the instruction bring a smile to your face and a new respect for verbs to your writing. If you have questions regarding grammar, usage, style or any component of writing, please visit my blog at and post a comment. Gary and I will respond, and we'll build a nice collection of tidbits over time. Randi Mayes PEER TO PEER: THE QUARTERLY MAGA ZINE OF ILTA 72 HOW YOU, TOO, CAN BECOME REALLY, REALLY BORING Gary Kinder Seriously, you are far too exciting, and Randi and I need to help you tone it down a bit. We can't help you with your presentation style on Karaoke Night or your bouldering in the Wasatch, because they're not our areas of expertise. But we can teach you how to write sentences that will make your readers want to pry their eyes out with a barbecue fork. Let's get started. First, the question we all must ask ourselves: Why would I want to be lively and engaging on paper, when I can be excruciatingly dull? Think about it. Lively sentences make our readers want to read more of what we write, and read it faster, and act on what we say, which means they might look forward to reading the next thing we write, which means we might communicate with them faster and get more done. Who would want that? If we write mind-numbing, somniferous, coma-inducing sentences, no one will want to read what we write, so no pressure. Darwin called this Survival of the Dullest. For instance, why write… We need an IT Manager who understands how to develop software. …when we can bore the bejeezus out of everyone by writing: It is my opinion that we are in need of an IT Manager with a clear understanding of how to accomplish the development of software. That is some serious boring. But let's not stop there. Why inspect, when we can "conduct an inspection of?" Why assume when we can "make an assumption as to?" Why believe when we can "have a belief that?" See how easy it is to turn bright, lively verbs into dull, boring nouns?

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