Thank you for your interest in my poem about standard English and E-prime. Below the poem, I talk further about what inspired the work. I hope you will enjoy this poetic critique and that it inspires you to learn more about E-prime.
Ditch the Is
by: Adam N.
We ought to bring back the appears, feels, and seems
The apparently, looks like, the sounds like, perceives.
Our language has gotten lost in a sauce,
of bland tasting lingo, we ought to have tossed.
This verb ‘to be’, ‘IS’, has mired our shine,
The was, were, and I’m, turned us all pantomime.
We can’t blame our parents, who’s parents taught them,
but I’ve checked in the books, it goes back to one man.
High time we restored the way we perceive things,
and hang up the am, are, were, is, and be things,
Let’s build up some cheer for a fight we might win,
Less loud vagaries, and more whisperin’
With the shouts dialed down, and the old verbs restored,
We can feel, look, and listen, and find the ignored.
We’ll go even further, right down to the term,
and hunt out the last of the was and the were.
Get rid of the am, isn’t and ain’t,
Mind as well shave off before and too late,
Get rid of counting days, dollars, and change,
Bring forth the subtle, weird shades of the strange.
Once you do that, then switch-switcheroo,
Since now, you at least have an option or two.
If you don’t like it then, I won’t start to cry,
but prior to that, please give it a try!
Further Reading for Ditch the Is – A short poem about English
During my study of E-Prime English, it occurred to me that poetry seems to flout the normal laws of language, especially the identity properties of the verb ‘to be’. Within the figurative and allegorical media of poetry, authors loosen some of the strict rules of facts to offer verbal impressions and new juxtapositions. For example, love doesn’t give you literal wings, but readers can easily understand the allusion to flying high with the feeling of infatuation.
In Ditch the Is, I appeal to the need for greater flexibility in self-expression as catalyzed through the E-Prime language extension. I just enjoy how E-prime encourages me toward increased vocabulary. Language arts teachers will appreciate wholesome vocabulary-building exercises and encourage their students to use the active voice. Both of which, E-prime facilitates.
Speaking and writing in E-prime encourages respectful debate. Instead of bludgeoning each other with facts, it presents information as an impression from the observer. We call this person the referent. By including ourselves in what we say, such as, “I enjoyed writing this poem,” it helps the reader understand the source of the information.
Finally, presenting in a short poem about English adds a little fun to my whole imperative. I evangelize sometimes when explaining E-prime, and a poem gave me a way to approach it with less consternation. As a caveat, the verb ‘to be’ doesn’t need to get totally eliminated to harness the power of E-prime.