"It was found that the background linguistic system (in other words, the grammar) of each language is not merely a reproducing instrument for voicing ideas but rather is itself the shaper of ideas, the program and guide for the individual's mental activity, for his analysis of impressions, for his synthesis of his mental stock in trade."
(Benjamin Lee Whorf: 'Language, Thought and Reality')
1.0 Preamble1.1 Direct Use
Readers who desire to use this paper directly for writing E-Prime, rather than studying background and technicalities, should read the whole of this preamble and then proceed directly to the main body of the text.
The appendices provide details on the techniques presented and extensive background notes for those intending deeper study.
1.2 Existence or Not - The Question?
This essence of this paper comprises a simple tutorial for readers interested in writing, and ultimately speaking, in the language form known as English Prime - E-Prime for short.
E-Prime comprises standard English with all forms of the verb TO BE deleted.
Numerous writings by others about the various benefits of E-Prime exist and such benefits do not warrant detailed repetition here. Suffice it to say that using E-Prime displaces the Aristotelian logic form of objects possessing absolute 'essences' and leads to a less dogmatic and more accurate, scientific use of language.
The electron no longer 'is' a spook like particle or a wave, rather we can perceive it, using different apparatus - and the word 'apparatus' includes language and 'thinking' apparatus - as either. Since language affects the way we think, the use of more logical language forms inevitably tends towards enhancing systematic, logical thinking.
Readers unfamiliar with E-Prime and its advantages should go direct to the links at the end of this paper, which between them provide a thorough background.
Although the reader might find other useful things presented in the appendices - for example a section explaining the difficult 'progressive' TO BE forms, some hints on minimalist forms, etc. - the main platform of this paper rests on establishing a handful of new language forms represented by templates supported by groups of E-Prime phrases.
That technique represents the majority of the (short) main text. Used together - and the essence of the technique fits on to a couple of pages for easy reference - the templates and phrases will produce pure E-Prime instead of normal English 'identity' and 'predicate' TO BE forms. The technique given may be used for direct writing E-Prime (preferred) or translation.
Although the principal technique presented, and the supplementary 'rules', will assist significantly in E-Prime composition - particularly when the concepts become internalised (see below) - they do not represent the last word on the subject. Ultimately, writing fluently (and even more speaking) in this 'new' form requires hands on practice. Follow the links - especially 'Speaking in E-Prime' - for other helpful writing rules.
1.3 Conditioning and Rote
Using the given method will, at least in the beginning, involve the reader applying the patterns by rote until they become assimilated - and, as explained below, the author makes no excuse for this. All of us learned TO BE forms by rote at some stage in our lives, and the patterns - which have become firmly lodged in our subconscious language processing systems - affect the way we think, speak, write and behave.
The pattern 'X is Y', a pattern used countless thousands of times in word and thought by most English speaking adults, has become almost innate.
If we add to this the fact that almost every English speaking person we encounter uses the very same word structures, as does every English radio and TV broadcast, newspaper and magazine, then the overall stranglehold of the patterns conditioning us becomes somewhat apparent.
1.4 Why not Work From First Principles?
A purist might say: 'I have a good intellect - I can learn E-Prime as I go along,' likening the form to some foreign language. Yes he/she could, but it's not that easy. The purist might learn, for example, pure Greek easily enough, but he wouldn't find it easy if every person he met spoke to him in some ancient form of Greek, less easy if the said ancient Greek represented his native tongue and therefore the language of his thoughts.
As an alternative metaphor - and this discounts the pressures present in society at large - I might model a purist as someone who finds himself standing in the middle of a highway with a forty ton truck bearing down on him. Theoretically, he could set about learning to walk, there and then, from first principles - if 'principles' apply to kinesthetic behaviours - and attempt to apply his learning in order to get out of the way. Personally, I would prefer to trust the learning of my subconscious - which learns by doing - and get out of the way without having to think about it.
Accordingly, I recommend that the reader assimilates the rules in here and uses the given language patterns (plus those he/she develops himself) not only as a simple means of writing in E-Prime but also as a means of LEARNING BY DOING. The more one attempts to write/speak in the new patterns, the easier it becomes - despite the substantial odds against.
Ultimately, we learn our basic language patterns by rote. In my view, to significantly displace extant forms probably demands that we learn new patterns in the same manner. Thousands of 'is' patterns might want to say otherwise, but I leave it for the reader to judge.
2.0 The Basic Methods2.1 Identity Forms
This section provides a synopsis of the method: for more detail and explanation, see the appendices.
A sentence such as: The dog is a menace represents the English language identity pattern of: noun phrase/form of the verb 'to be'/noun phrase - or more concisely: NP1(TO BE)NP2. In translation to E-Prime, according to the methods given here, this becomes superseded by the alternate form OPERATOR N/NP1/OPERATOR 2/NP2. The lists (2.2 and 2.3) below show some permitted forms of Operator 1 and Operator 2: in all cases, 'X' represents the identity of the speaker. Word forms may need minor adaptation to suit sense/tense of particular user sentences.Example: The dog is a menace.becomes... Joe says that the dog behaves like a menace.2.2 OPERATOR N - Phrases that Undelete 'Point of View'
(For use with both Identity and Predicate Forms):
X says that, X believes, X asserts that, In X's opinion, X hold's the view, In X's view, X assumes that, In X's appreciation, In X's understanding, X perceives that, In X's perception, X insists that, X claims, From X's point of view, X said yesterday that, X pronounces that, X pronounced that, X holds that, X holds the opinion that, X has pronounced that, X thinks that, X has the view that, X maintains that, X affirms that, X made it known that, X maintains that, X asserts that, X alleges that, X suggests that, X imagines that, X estimates that, In X's estimation, X claims that, X observes that, According to X, X declares that, X has declared that, In X's observation, X observes that, X contends that, X has argued that
(Non-exhaustive list: user should compose his/her own options.)
2.3 OPERATOR 2 Phrases that Replace 'to be'
(For use with Identity Forms Only):
accords with, acts like, acts as if, represents, resembles, seems like, simulates, apes, approaches, approximates, approximates to, behaves like, smells like, sounds like, symbolises, takes after, tallies with, tastes like, typifies, caricatures, coincides with, compares with, conforms with, copies, correlates with, corresponds to, corresponds with, cross maps to, depicts, duplicates, emulates, epitomises, equals, equates to, illustrates, imitates, impersonates, likens to, looks like, matches, means, echoes, mirrors, models, moves like, paraphrases, passes for, performs like, portrays, poses like, reflects, acts in the manner of, postures in the style of, imitates the behaviour of, behaves in the manner of, has the attributes of, behaves in like manner to, can be modelled upon, demonstrates the behaviour of, echoes the behaviour of, manoeuvres in the style of, patterns itself on, matches that of, can be modelled as, employs tactics like, follows the pattern of, follows the behaviour of, follows the same patterns as, follows the path of, has the attributes of, has similar characteristics to, has the same characteristics as, has some of the same characteristics as, reflects the behaviour of, replicates the behaviour of, has some of the characteristics of (Non-exhaustive list.)
2.4 Predicate Forms
The following represents a synopsis: see appendices for more detail and explanation. The sentence: The Earth is flat illustrates the English language predicate pattern of: noun phrase/form of 'to be' verb/adjective phrase - or more concisely: NP(TO BE)AP. Using the methods presented here, in E-Prime the form becomes superseded by the alternate form OPERATOR N/NP/OPERATOR A/AP. The lists (2.2 as previously given and 2.5) below show some permitted forms of Operator N and Operator A: in all cases, 'X' represents the identity of the speaker. Word forms may need minor adaption to suit sense/tense of particular user sentences.Example: The dog is stupid.becomes... In my view, the dog behaves stupidly.2.5 OPERATOR A Phrases that Replace 'to be'
(For use with Predicate Forms)
behaves, acts, depicts, displays, echoes, emulates, exemplifies, feels, illustrates, indicates, looks, mimics, mirrors, models, personifies, portrays, appears, reflects, replicates, represents, seems, associates with, symbolises, acts like, acts as if, behaves as if, appears as if it, behaves like, comes across as, comes over as, correlates with, cross maps to, demonstrates the qualities of, demonstrates, demonstrates the characteristics of, evokes in me the perception of, exhibits the form of, falls in the category of, gives me the sensation of, gives the impression of, gives the image of, has the semblance of, has the qualities of, has the properties of, impresses me as, looks like, looks like, shows signs of, shows the features of, shows up as, shows the criterion of, simulates, sounds like, stands for, takes the form of, takes the shape of (Non-exhaustive list.)
2.6 Using these Lists in Direct E-Prime Writing:
The step by step guide below should help in direct E-Prime writing using the lists. With five minutes practice, it becomes possible to carry out the procedure mentally.1) Choose and write down an Operator N form (list 1)2.7 Partial Form
2) Write down your intitial noun phrase
3) Decide if your sentence refers to a noun (NP) or an adjectival phrase (AP)
4) For NP types, select a verb group from list 2 - or compose your own
5) For AP types, select a verb group from list 3 - or compose your own
6) Review your sentence - and rework from step 1 if necessary. If it appears really awkward, you could have a progressive form: check subsection 2.8
Using the Operator N forms presented above will produce pure E-Prime statements, statements in which 'speaker' appears. Constant repetition of phrases like 'In my opinion' can become wearing however, especially in spoken form (where a speaker obviously exists), and the use of an alternate partial form can eliminate this and still produce E-Prime. To do this, the reader should use Operator 2 OR Operator A only, with a sprinkling of Operator N phrases as a reminder that a speaker's point of view exists.
The reader should ALWAYS include reference to the speaker when writing about/discussing controversial matters and for correcting the dogmatic perceptions of others.
2.8 Brief Rules for Progressive Forms
..a) Use a direct form of the main verb (raining becomes rains etc.), or...
..b) Use a replacement form for the auxilliary verb (see 2.9), or...
..c) Undelete the speaker/observer and reinstall the process (e.g. 'The cat is chasing the mouse' becomes 'Joe saw the cat chasing the mouse')
2.9 Replacement Words/Phrases of Continuity for Replacing Auxilliary 'to be' Verbs:
continues, persists, persists in, carries on, maintains progress in, endures, perseveres, continually, keeps, keeps on, without pausing, without pause, ceaselessly, without respite, without let up, with no let up, unfalteringly, with no break
2.10 General Hints
..a) Try to open sentences with active VERBS
..b) When opening a sentence with a noun phrase, follow the noun phrase immediately with an active VERB
..c) When describing something, describe the overall PROCESS that takes place and ensure inclusion of the participants (which also means speakers/observers) in the action
..d) Avoid opening sentences with pronouns
..e) Remember that, because of their comparative basis, systems of measure can represent particular difficulties: refer to Appendix E.5
..f) For a short list of active verbs, see Appendix G.4
Appendix A: IntroductionA.1 The Basic Patterns
The English language patterns dealt with in this paper comprise those containing forms of the English Verb 'to be' - 'is, am, are, were, been, etc'. In particular the two common patterns of 'identity' and 'predication', both of which effect the way we perceive things through language, receive detailed analysis. Analysis of means of supplanting a third form - 'progression' - which uses 'to be' as an auxilliary verb, provides another section of the paper.
A final section presents, amongst other things, the analysis of other, minor, 'to be' forms - 'existence' and 'time', etc.
The first group I discuss, commonly known as the 'identity' pattern, takes the assertive form 'something 1' IS 'something 2' in standard English - where the word IS, the commonest form of the verb 'to be', translates as 'equals'.
The second pattern takes the form: 'something' IS 'description', where IS represents 'possesses the properties of' in the TO BE form known as 'predication'. The third form 'progression' uses TO BE as an auxilliary verb to indicate continuity of the principal verb e.g: 'George IS cycling', 'Brenda WAS watching the TV'
A.2 Note on terminology:
In this paper, the term 'speaker' refers to the agent originating a statement. The terms 'reader/user' refer to the reader/user of the paper.
Appendix B: The Identity Form of TO BEB.1 Description and Discussion of the 'Identity' Form
In conventional English, the shorthand: NP2(TO BE)NP2 defines the 'identity' form, where NP1 represents a leading noun phrase, TO BE represents any form or tense of the verb 'be' and NP2 a trailing noun phrase.
This identity structure, which appears as: 'something' IS 'something else', translates into the mathematical form: 'something 1' = 'something 2', where '=' means 'identical to'. Of the two principal forms (identity and predicate), the identity type - in terms of both quality and quantity of statements made - presents the greatest stumbling block in that it provides a vehicle for the strongest dogma and hard line views.Examples illustrating the form:All these statements, irrespective of the speaker's delivery, (dogmatism exists in the language forms anyhow), represent matters of OPINION - the speaker's opinion - and not of fact. They illustrate the way in which the speaker INWARDLY COMPARES one noun phrase with another, not 'out there' immutable fact - and the reader should continually keep this in mind.
..a) Joe Bloggs is a pig
..b) The Zygonwis are heathens
..c) The electron is a particle
..d) Clapton is God
B.2 Welcome to the Hall of Mirrors
In supplanting the TO BE verb in identity forms, the basic process comprises detaching the speaker's asserted 'identity' from object(s) 'out there' and remapping that perceived relationship accurately in some kind of metaphor. That metaphor, which the speaker implies, firmly resides between his or her ears, and nowhere else in the universe. Things in themselves do not possess word labels and the attachment of such labels comprises a singular human activity, an activity which always has some human agent involved in the process.
[Note: at root, all NP1(TO BE)NP2 'identity' constructions correspond to metaphors of the form NP1(models)NP2: the TO BE form of attachment of one noun group to another represents a lazy, shorthand, blanket metaphor which equates ALL features of NP1 entirely with ALL features of NP2 - an absurdity which ironically demonstrates the inadequate nature of 'to be' language as a concise means of description.]
B.3 Process for Writing Identity Forms in E-Prime
The basis of this comprises a template with the fundamental pattern:
.. OPERATOR PHRASE N/ NP1/ OPERATOR PHRASE 2/ NP used to supplant the TO BE form NP1(TO BE)NP2 structure in prose and also restore the deleted speaker normally associated with the TO BE form. The template uses an Operator Phrase N group - a group of non-dogmatic proforma language patterns - which acknowledge the participation of a speaker in the process, and an Operator Phrase 2 group. The second group comprises more non-dogmatic phrases suitable for supplanting TO BE verbs and fluently crossmapping the two noun phrases.
The reader should adopt these patterns (and, even better, any developed independently - since the latter will suit the reader's style) when attempting to write E-Prime. Note that writing DIRECTLY in E-Prime remains the primary objective here since writing in TO BE terminology and translating will merely reinforce old habits. Furthermore, writing directly in E-Prime will cause the reader to LEARN the new language patterns.
Having said that, the patterns can be applied to translation as indicated in the next subsection. [Note that, especially in translation, that not all these phrases will 'fit' directly. In such cases, the reader should select another phrase - and/or slightly adjust the original word form to suit.]
B.4 Examples of Identity Form Translation (using the technique outlined above):..a) Joe Bloggs is a pigNote how the dogma magically vanishes from the E-Prime statements - this arises primarily due to the reintallation of a 'speaker'. Previously 'out there' cast in stone, stand alone fact becomes revealed as opinion. An electron no longer IS a particle, rather someone says that it can be modelled as a particle. Clapton no longer IS God, the sentence represents the opinion of some of his fans, etc.
.Mrs Bloggs insists that Joe Bloggs behaves like a pig
..b) The Zygonwis are heathens
.Rev. Smith holds that the Zyngowis act in the manner of heathens
..c) The electron is a particle
.Prof Z says that the electron can be modelled as a particle
..d) Clapton is God
.Eric's fan club pronounced that Clapton has some of the characteristics of God
As pointed out earlier, the language pattern NP1(TO BE)NP2 - or to state it more simply 'something' IS 'something else' - has, because of the blanket cross-mapping introduced by the all embracing nature of the assertive 'IS', a peculiar implied dogma that leaves no room for debate. 'X is Y' says the dogmatist, implying 'and that is that'. In the real world, however, things tend not to be so hard and fast and, in order to more accurately map the real world in E-Prime statements, the addition of some kind of qualification can be a useful adjunct. Qualifications will normally be in the form of time/space and specific circumstances and remain for the the reader to specify (although general word 'sometimes', or variants, could always apply - since no object or process endures forever). Some examples of qualification - as applied to those already given - follow:..a) Joe Bloggs is a pig
.Mrs Bloggs insists that Joe Bloggs behaves like a pig AT MEALTIMES
..b) The Zygonwis are heathens
.Rev Smith holds that the Zyngowis act in the manner of heathens WHEN THEY SACRIFICE CHICKENS
..c) The electron is a particle
.Prof Z says that the electron can be SOMETIMES modelled as a particle
..d) Clapton is God
.Eric's fan club pronounced that Clapton has some of the characteristics of God WHEN HE PLAYS A GUITAR
Appendix C: Predicate FormsC.1 Description and Discussion of 'Predicate' Forms
In conventional English language, the shorthand: NP(TO BE)AP represents the 'predicate' form, where NP represents the leading noun phrase, TO BE a form of the verb 'be' and AP the trailing adjective phrase. Note that the order of NP and AP sometimes gets reversed - especially in poetic and literary form.
In this structure, the speaker attaches some QUALITY to the leading noun phrase through the adjective(s) and, since the attachment mechanism involves the dogmatic TO BE form, the phrase or sentence often reads as if the quality exists as an actual 'out there' property of the noun phrase rather than the speaker's perception.Examples illustrating the form:These statements all represent matters of opinion. 'Stupidity', 'love' and 'hotness' do not exist in the out there universe at large. Consequently, they do not reside in the given objects either. The words illustrate qualities attributed to various noun forms by human observers and the reader should bear constantly that in mind.
..a) Joe Bloggs is stupid
..b) The rose is love
..c) The radiator is hot
In supplanting the TO BE verb in predicate forms, although the basic process of detaching attribution from some object 'out there' and putting it squarely back between the speaker's ears remains the same as that for the identity type, the procedure can prove more difficult. Often, the relationship projected between adjective groups and noun groups gives rise to an intaglio form of perception wherein the property referred to appears like some intrinsic property of the noun group - when in fact it merely exists in the speaker's point of view. The examples given above appear simple enough to translate into E-Prime: having said that, the reader might attempt, as an exercise, to disentangle the more pernicious: 'The rose is red' - which genuinely represents a predicate form (clue: redness does not exist in the universe other than as a perception).
C.2 Process for Writing Predicate Forms in E-Prime
Again this uses a template thus:
OPERATOR PHRASE N/ NP1/ OPERATOR PHRASE A/ AP to supplant the TO BE form NP(TO BE)AP structure and restore the deleted operator/operator qualification. The template uses the Operator Phrase N group as previously given, and a new Operator Phrase A group to lead into the adjective phrase.
As before, the reader should not attempt to write in normal English and translate (to do so would only reinforce existing language patterns), but should rather use these lists directly for writing/speaking and LEARNING new habits.
Note that, especially in translation, that not all these phrases will 'fit' directly. In such cases, the reader should select another phrase - and/or slightly adjust the original word form to suit.
C.3 Examples of Predicate Form Translation:..a) Joe Bloggs is stupid'Behaves,' 'symbolises,' 'feels,' 'has the semblance,' 'comes across'. Note how, in the translations, the intrinsic properties supposedly possessed by the noun groups become transformed into perceptions, perceptions belonging to the speaker - this represents the true state of affairs. Note how E-Prime produces longer sentences than the originals - mainly due to the reinstatement of a deleted speaker. Note also that the sentences that reflect significantly more information and accuracy.
.Smith says that Joe Bloggs behaves stupidly
..b) The rose is love
.In poet Joe Bloggs' view, the rose symbolises love
..c) The radiator is hot
.According to Sylvia, the radiator feels hot.
..d) The rose is red
.Shakespeare claimed that the rose has the semblance of redness.
..e) Joan is evil
.Jim says that Joan comes across as evil
Appendix D: Progressive TO BE FormsD.1 Description
Language patterns that use 'to be' to indicate progression or continuity take the form of: NP(TO BE)V where NP denotes a noun phrase and V a progressive verb - one which indicates some kind of ongoing process. The 'to be' form performs the function of an auxilliary verb.Examples of progressive forms:D.2 Preliminary Discussion
..'It is raining'
..'The dog is walking across the field'
..'The man is using a pencil'
..'I am working'
..'Joe was watching TV'
In practical day to day terms of engendering false logic the use of 'to be' forms as auxilliary verbs does not represent a major problem - except that it supports the philosophically problematic subject/object divide, a discussion of which lies beyond the scope of this paper. The principal difficulties rest in the use of the structures already discussed where the 'to be' forms immediately precede secondary noun groups (identity) and adjective groups (predication).
Having said that, the assertive auxilliary verb forms share the habitual, fragmentary language pattern 'NP(TO BE)' with the more damaging forms: that pattern fragment - with a minor slip of the tongue/change in a trailing word - will immediately energise the other forms. Accordingly, and in order to break the NP(TO BE) habit and reinstate some 'process' in the subject/object divide, the author also suggests the elimination of 'to be' forms in the auxilliary verb pattern as well as the rest - wherever possible.
The reader should be aware that the 'to be' auxilliary verb pattern comprises a common - and limited - structure that does not readily lend itself to restructuring: a discussion of three available methods follows.
D.3 Using a Direct Form of the Progressive Verb
This technique comprises directly replacing the passive voice of the principal verb with an alternative (usually active) voice. This works in almost every case - but the results can sometimes be awkward. With the given examples this would yield:..'It rains'D.3 Replacement of the Auxilliary Verb
..'The dog walks across the field'
..'The man uses a pencil'
..'Joe watched TV'
This means using an alternative verb form in the position of the 'to be' form. Since the principal verb in this form denotes a progressive form - i.e. a 'process' verb, the replacement auxilliary has to indicate continiuity of some process.
Although only a limited number of replacements exist, and using them might appear repititious, they will provide no more repitition than the monotonous 'is', 'was', 'are', etc. available in 'to be' speak. Note that some version of the verb 'continue' will almost always work in these circumstances.
With the examples from above, auxilliary verb replacement gives:..'It continues raining'A list of potential replacement verbs follows directly below.
..or 'It continues to rain'
..or 'It rains continually'
..'The dog keeps on walking across the field'
..'The man persists in using a pencil'
..'I will keep on working'
..'Joe carried on watching TV'
D.4 Replacement Words/Phrases For Auxilliary 'to be' Verbs:
continues, persists, persists in, carries on, maintains progress in, endures, perseveres, continually, keeps, keeps on, without pausing, without pause, ceaselessly, without respite, without let up, with no let up, unfalteringly, with no break
D.5 Restructuring/Undeleting the Speaker/Observer
This represents the most powerful technique. All speech and writing has some kind of a generating agent - for convenience and brevity in this paper I have referred to such an agent as 'the speaker'.
All statements - and questions - originate somewhere, they don't suddenly pop into existence out of nowhere and the ACTUAL process in operation involves a speaker or observer. That happens in fact - but in many word groups the reader will encounter the speaker/observer has magically deleted him/herself. (See Appendix M for a fuller discussion of this). Deletion in general represents common practice in the abbreviated forms of 'to be' language patterns, and restoring - or 'undeleting' - the speaker/observer provides one technique to use with all such patterns in order to give the phrase or sentence under consideration a fuller meaning.
Confining discussion to progressive forms, the statement: 'The cat is chasing the mouse' represents only part of the story. Who says 'the cat is chasing the mouse?' Who saw it? Does that statement represent the facts accurately? How does one actually 'know' that the cat chases the mouse - if it happens in an uninhabited forest in Siberia, how does anyone know? How much has been deleted from the original sentence - and since language represents a symbol system, EVERY sentence will contain deletions?
Irrespective of any other deletions the sample sentence has the property - along with multitudes of similar constructions - that the speaker/observer has vanished. In terms of this section, undeleting makes it possible to change the sentence structure and at the same time eliminate the progressive verb. This re-presents an overall view of events as a PROCESS - with an observer - whilst simultaneously overcoming the divisive 'to be' form.Examples:Note that reinstating the speaker/observer also reinstates sensory verbs/processes into the phrases/sentences, verbs and processes that get neatly deleted in the 'to be' forms.
..'I can see the cat chasing the mouse'
..'Joe sits watching the cat chase the mouse'
..'I watched the cat chasing the mouse'
..'Can you see the cat chasing the mouse?'
..'I chase the mouse,' said the cat.
...and more complex - to supplant 'It is raining':
..'Joe observed it raining'
..'I watched the rain fall'
..'I felt the rain falling'
..'Joe can hear it raining'
..'I can see the rain falling on the grass'
..'Fred heard the rain falling on his roof' etc.
Although the discussion in this subsection may have seemed lengthy, the application should present the reader with little difficulty. Putting it together, a simple rule might state: 'Reinstate the SPEAKER/OBSERVER, include a perspective using a sensory verb and reword the sentence to eliminate the 'to be' form.
Appendix E: Other Useful HintsE.1 Introduction
This section comprises notes/hints and tips on the use of E-Prime that wouldn't conveniently fit against the methods given in preceding sections. Having said that, these comments have as much validity as anything else given in this paper and accordingly should merit equal attention from the reader.
E.2 Set the Scene with Verbs
Open sentences with an active verb (this sentence represents an example of itself) to get the movement going. Creating E-Prime becomes easier this way - as does writing in the active voice (which itself assists in eliminating the offending 'to be' form). Look at the alternative, passive, form of the first sentence: 'It can be useful to open sentences with a verb...' 'Be' immediately creeps in, and even more, avoiding an 'is' in the second half of the sentence appears almost impossible due to the implied structure.
If you can't open the sentence with an active verb, get one as near to the front end of the sentence as you can. Try to 'verb' your sentences rather than 'noun' them.
As a footnote, teaching students in scientific disciplines to write in the third person with a passive voice represents bad practice in E-Prime. Such statements as 'The material was weighed in the balance,' and 'The experiments were considered to be...' seem purpose designed to eliminate any observers or participants and permit such to evade any responsibility for involvement in processes referred to - all in the name of so called 'objectivity'.
Similar twists in logic permit the 'objective': 'The spacecraft failed', 'The chemical plant exploded'' and such by 'students' when they reach professional maturity.
E.3 Avoid Noun Openers?
The advice in this subsection complements that given in E.2. The reader should normally avoid opening a sentence with noun or pronoun words or phrases (this sentence does not represent an example of itself BUT a verb appears quite early on to mitigate the effect). The patterns: NP(verb)NP and NP(verb)AP tend to attract forms of the 'to be' in the verb position, especially when the noun phrase comprises a pronoun. The reason for this lies in primary education: we learned the basic forms: 'I am, You are, He is, She is, It is, We are, They are, I/He/She was, etc.' at a very early age and they represent some of our most basic language patterns.
Given all this, a simple technique does exist for using noun phrase openers, and it comprises deliberately using some form of an ACTIVE verb immediately following the noun phrase in the form NP (active verb) NP.Examples:E.4 Put the Process back in Place
..a) Not 'Jones is a...' but 'Jones acts like a...'
..b) Not 'I am...' but 'I feel...'
..c) Not 'It is...' but 'It looks...'
Again, this refers to verbs - words that indicate process, dynamics and action - rather than the static nature of things implied by nouns and verbs nominalised into nouns (e.g. the verb decide gets nominalised into the noun 'decision') used in 'to be' forms. In life, people and things interract with other people and things and stasis remains uncommon, impossible even should one consider view things on a microcosmic scale.
When someone alleges that something 'is' then, as discussed earlier, a process of deletion occurs/has occured.
The supposed 'is' represents a shorthand, a narrow space and time snapshot of some much larger process, mentions of which, more often than not, get conveniently excluded by the speaker.
Reinstalling a broader view of the process (i.e. the specifics represented by 'how, why, when, where, what and who') will usually suggest to the reader a number of potential process verbs which will both serve to better describe events and allow dispensation with 'to be' forms. I can best demonstrate this with a couple of examples:Statement:E.5 Measures for Dealing with Measures
..'Bill Clinton is President of the USA'
..How did he get there? Process of election.
..When did he get elected?
..Who elected him?
..'The people of the USA ELECTED Bill Clinton President for four years in...'
The process word 'elected' gets rid of the 'is' and tells us what actually went on, tells us about the PROCESS that took/continues to take place. By using that word, we also get to refer to the doer in the process - i.e. 'The people of the USA,' played a vital part. Clinton no longer 'is' President - as if cast in stone eternally - once we discover the underlying process variables.
..'The car is damaged'
..How did the car get damaged?
..Who damaged it? (or did it damage itself?)
..What form does the damage take?
..When did it happen to get damaged?
..'I drove the car into a wall and dented the front nearside wing last night'
Process words 'drove' and 'dented' displace the 'is' form - a form that could imply that the fairies came along in the middle of the night and inflicted the said damage with magic wands. Note the undeletion of the doer - 'I' - in the process version of events.
When we measure things, in the strict sense of the word, we compare that which we measure with a commonly agreed standard. In normal English we also, but crudely, compare one thing with another linguistically in 'to be' forms of statements and 'to be' forms often metamorphose and cross the divide, hardly surprisingly owing to the similarity of the comparison process, and often turn as wolves clothed as sheep up when the measurement of things takes place.Examples:All the above sentences represent forms of 'to be' language patterns used in forms with deleted systems of measure. Eliminating the 'to be' pattern demands reinstallation of process and with it some reference to fact that measurement/some system of measurement - not some arbitrary 'isness' - underlies the question/statement. As always with deletions, only the speaker will know in detail the extent and nature of the material - but the reader can often draw inference from general systems of measure present. Additionally, the introduction (or rather, since they have been deleted, reintroduction) of verbs related to measurement - the more precise the better - can assist in this area. Reworking the examples given above - and reinstalling speakers - yields the following:
..a) 'Is business satisfactory?' (measuring 'business')
..b) 'I wish I was ten pounds lighter' (measuring weight)
..c) 'What size are your hips?' (measuring girth/distance)
..d) 'Is this dress the right size for you, Fred?' (measuring 'fit')
..e) 'It's miles to Tipperary' (measuring distance)
..f) 'The aircraft is travelling at Mach 1.6' (measuring speed/velocity)..a) Smith asked: "How many units have you SOLD this week?"
..b) I wish I WEIGHED ten pounds less
..c) She asked: "What do you MEASURE around the hips?"
..d) "Does this dress FIT you, Fred?" I ventured.
..e) Smith says the distance from here to Tipperary MEASURES two miles.
..f) I MEASURED the speed of the aircraft as Mach 1.6
Appendix F: Breaking Dogma with Minimalist FormsF.1 General
Strict E-Prime requires that forms of the verb 'to be' get eliminated entirely. Unfortunately, owing to the habitual nature of the offending, dogmatic language patterns, which as discussed earlier will persist until they become supplanted by something else, the practical elimination of 'to be' forms - especially in speech - presents some formidible difficulties.
Although the total eradication of the 'to be' structure in language appears problematic in the short term (or even the long term!), the elimination of the underlying logical patterns in the identity and predicate forms - and the intrinsic dogmatism that resides in them - lends itself to fairly direct intervention with what I have termed 'minimalist forms', quick fixes that appear easy to implement - even in speech.
To briefly recapitulate, all NP1(TO BE)NP2 'identity' constructions correspond to metaphors of the form NP1(models)NP2: the TO BE form represents a blanket metaphor that attempts to equate all features of NP1 entirely with all features of NP2 - ie NP1=NP2 IN ALL RESPECTS. Likewise, in the predicate form, some QUALITY attaches to the noun phrase through the adjective(s) using the dogmatic TO BE form. Using 'minimalist forms', the 'hard' mapping of one part of a sentence to another gets broken down such as to eliminate the impression that, what others have called, 'spooks' or 'essences' dreamed up by a speaker reside in the subject noun groups. Using the minimalist forms, the following transformations occur:Identity:F.3 Practical Application
NP1 is equal in all respects to NP2 (English), becomes...
NP1 is similar to NP2 (minimalist E-Prime)
NP has all the intrinsic qualities represented by AP (English), becomes...
in my view NP appears AP (minimalist E-Prime)
F.3.1 Identity Form
As given above, this breaks the strict E-Prime rules by allowing 'is', 'was', 'are' as in normal English form. Nevertheless, the technique supplants dogmatic cross mapping in favour of more flexible metaphor - which in turn pushes the door to reasoned discussion open.
In a nutshell, the form: NP1 (TO BE) NP2s becomes the new form:
NP1(TO BE) like''NP2: where like'' represents 'like', 'seems like', 'behaves like' - any phrase containing the word 'like' or other words of similitude to cross map NP1 and NP2. The change in wording, although insignificant - and easily adopted in both the spoken and written word - has a major shift in meaning in that dogmatic, hard and fast IS relationships between one group of words and another become disabled.
As an adjunct to this, the reinstallation of a speaker becomes easy, either as a front end phrase or (even easier) as a trailing phrase of the form: 'to me', 'to you', 'to Smith', etc. The latter operation restores attribution to the speaker.Examples:F.3.2 Predicate Form
..a) Joe Bloggs is a pig
.Joe bloggs seems like a pig (to me)
..b) The electron is a wave
.The electron is like a wave (in my view)
..c) The Zygonwis are heathens
.The Zyngonwis are like heathens (in Rev Smith's opinion)
No need to break the rules of E-Prime here, and the form represents simplicity itself:
NP (TO BE) AP becomes the new form: To me NP 'appears' AP: where "appears'' represents 'appears', 'seems', 'looks', etc. Any phrase that suggests similitude. Note that the speaker must be included ('to me', etc. will fit at the front or rear end of the phrase/sentence).
The word changes again bring about major perceptual shifts: the rose no longer IS red, it appears red to some observer - a proper representation of the process at work.Examples
..a) Joe Bloggs is stupid
.To me, Joe Bloggs seems stupid
..b) The rose is love
.The rose appears as love to me
..c) The radiator is hot
.The radiator seems hot to Sylvia
..d) The rose is red
.To Shakespeare, the rose seemed red
Appendix G: General Front End Statement FormsG.1 General
Purpose designed front end forms avoid general dogmatic 'is, are, was, were, etc' patterns used at the BEGINNING of sentences and phrases and re-attach the speaker to his/her statements: see K.3 for a selection of these.
The pattern 'NP1 (TO BE) NP2/AP' seems ingrained, and use of the following leading patterns - instead of the 'It is, she was, they are, etc.' groups - although it won't immediately lead to perfect E-prime, will begin to supplant a number of 'to be' habits AND restore the speaker as an integral part of the language process. The reader must remain alert to the danger of supplementing the patterns given below with an added 'it is' - for example 'In my view IT IS...' and make a point of getting on with the subject of the sentence immediately the leading phrase has been presented - for example 'In my view the car has...' In an attempt to pre-empt this, the abbreviation 'NP V' has been inserted in the patterns given in K.3 as a reminder that the reader should get on with the noun phrase forming the subject of the sentence immediately, and then the verb.
G.2 Active Verbs
Although the front end forms presented will displace the 'to be' forms at the beginning of phrases sentences (and a whole lot of sentences begin with words in the form 'it is' - so this represents no trivial endeavour), a yawning trap will await the unwary reader when he/she reaches the portion of the sentence awaiting composition beyond the first noun phrase (NP).
The trap takes the form of a temptation to immediately introduce a form of the 'to be' verb - for example 'In my view, the dog IS a lazy...' Again, the tendency to use this form lies in habit. Practice - and the use of ACTIVE VERBS immediately after the first noun phrase - will assist in overcoming this. The English language contains thousands of verbs that will serve as'active' verbs, a suitable one for any particular sentence can usually be found with a bit of effort. In difficult cases, the reader should seek out a dictionary or thesaurus - or consider recasting the offending sentence altogether. The list (G.4) below presents a number of active verb forms - many of them of a 'general' nature - suitable for use as an alternative to 'to be' forms after an initial noun phrase. Conjugate the verb forms/add words of similitude and conjunction to suit the form your sentences.
Note that many of the verbs presented take the comparative form NP1 (compares with) NP2 or AP. Linguistically, this represents accuracy since the form ('things' modelled by language pattern 1) (model according to) (language pattern 2) fairly illustrates the process at work in reality. In Nature, nothing IS anything else - irrespective of what mistaken language patterns would have us believe. Such erroneous descriptions originate in man.
G.3 List of 'Front End' Forms
In my view NP V, I think that NP V, In my opinion NP V, I consider NP V, I imagine that NP V, I reckon NP V, I assert NP V, I suppose NP V, I presume NP V, I maintain NP V, I assert that NP V, I figure that NP V, I hold that NP V, In my perception NP V, It seems to me that NP V, In my considered opinion NP V, According to X, NP V, I feel that NP V, It looks to me like NP V, Seems to me like NP V, I hold/hold that NP V, I believe NP V, I believe that NP V, I hold the opinion that NP V, I'm convinced that NP V, In my judgement NP V, I am aware that NP V, I observe that NP V, In my experience NP V, I sense that NP V, According to my information NP V, In your view NP V, You say that in your view/opinion that NP V, According to your/her/his opinion NP V, You believe NP V (adapt 'I' forms into 'you/they/etc.' forms)
G.4 Short List of Active Verbs
appears, seems, looks, behaves, walks, smells, tastes, have, get, sounds, feels, works, dreams, hurts, walks, contains, follows, seeks, stands, sits, gives, takes, runs, bubbles, drags, warms, grows, listens, loves, runs, lies, asks, blames, bends, cleans, heats, cools, brings, start, commence, demonstrates, leaves, verifies, avoids, believes, represents, works, radiates, releases, causes, speaks, expects, creates, makes, resembles, duplicates, provides, seems similar to, moves, accords with, acts like, acts as if, represents, come, resembles, wallows, rises, whines, proves, seems like, simulates, stop, apes, approaches, agree, realises, shows, scents, denies, aggrees with, embodies, describes, knows, ignores, understands, defines, clarifies, informs, hides, reveals, approximates, approximates to, behaves like, smells like, sounds like, symbolises, takes after, tallies with, tastes like, typifies, caricatures, coincides with, compares with, conforms with, copies, correlates with, corresponds to, corresponds with, cross maps to, depicts, duplicates, emulates, epitomises, equals, equates to, illustrates, imitates, impersonates, likens to, looks like, matches, means, echoes, mirrors, models, moves like, paraphrases, passes for, performs like, portrays, poses like, reflects
Note that the above lists represent a 'starter package' suitable for use with either spoken or written forms. The reader should cut and paste them and add his/her preferred forms as developed/required.
Appendix H: Deletion and Difficult FormsH.1.0 Introduction
When I started on this paper, I wrote down a large number of phrases and sentences in 'to be' form in order to both assess the extent of the problem and determine if all forms would lend themselves to expression in E-Prime without undue tautology.
I discovered that, without doubt, there exist some particularly difficult forms and that usually at the root of the difficulty in translation lies the problem of deletion - the implication of or removal of information by, or about, the speaker. I discuss several of these forms below.
In translating some of these forms I have not always used the formula approach given in earlier sections, nor do I claim to have solved all the underlying problems. I do claim that with a little bit of persistence and ingenuity, most standard English will lend itself to rendition in E-Prime.
H 1.1 'I am the same age as my sister'
This represents an identity form, and in theory lends itself to translation by the methods presented in section 3.
Using the 'I am' phrase the speaker does at least indicate his/her presence although he/she does not represent the given views as opinion. [The latter point touches upon what we consider as the nature of 'fact' and 'opinion' in all this.] Using the principles of section 3, the sentence might translate to: 'My age equals my sister's' or 'My age tallies with my sister's' or 'My age corresponds with my sister's': all of these work, but they all seem more awkward than the neat original form.
The original form, as always, contains deletions, and at root in the given sentence lies the activity of measurement - the measurement of age. But how precisely should we measure? If we consider rewriting the sentence another way we have: 'I have a twin sister,' indicating that the birth of 'I' and 'my sister' occured simultaneously or almost simultaneously. Rewriting in yet another way we have: 'My sister and I will reach our thirtieth birthday this year'. The fact remains that 'same age' represents a deletion - the detail regarding means, accuracy and precision of measurement has gone and we don't know if 'same age' means exactly, within a minute or two, within a month or so, or a year. The first, but awkward, E-Prime of 'My age equals my sister's' reflects the vague nature of the original and probably remains the best translation.
H 1.2 'It's a long way to Tipperary'
So goes the song, and as I put this paper together those words resisted - for a long time - my efforts to translate them into anything like sensible E-Prime. The opening phrase 'It is a...' ring up the identity form, but how to reword it? Well, we immediately have the deleted speaker making an absolute statement about a 'long way' and 'Tipperary'. Reinstalling the speaker and substituting the 'is' solves the problem quite simply. 'According to Smith, it appears like a long way to Tipperary.'
H 1.3 'I was robbed'
The underlying verb 'rob' lies at the root of this sentence. I rob, you rob, he robs, etc. For robbing to take place, a robber must exist as must an item or items that get robbed. The robber, and the item(s) robbed, represent the deletions in the given sentence. Rewriting the sentence to restore the deletions gives: 'The robber took my wallet.'
H 1.4 'We were lucky to get out of that'
Restoring this adjectival form we have variously:
'We had a lucky escape from that'
'Martha and I had a lucky escape from that'
'In my view, Martha and I had a lucky escape from that'
'In my view, Martha and I had a lucky escape from the car crash'
Restoring deletions demands that we have (or assume) knowledge of their content... otherwise the speaker must do it.
H 1.5 'We are determined to go through with this'
Who says, and what do the terms 'we' and 'this' represent?
'The vice president said Bloggs Corp will proceed with the takeover' Simple enough to reinstall the deletions - but note that it requires apriori knowledge of the material comprising the deletions to do so.
H 1.6 'To be, or not to be: that is the question'
Oh yes? The two 'be's' here refer to existence (a rare form not covered directly in this paper), whilst the 'is' represents an identity form where 'to be or not to be'='question'. As for the existence form of 'to be', if you mean to talk about existence then use the word 'exist' or one of its derivatives.
In the example, and since the initial 'be' forms represent a question about existence, they translate directly in terms of it: undeleting the speaker deals directly with the 'is' phrase thus: 'Existence or non-existence: I question this'. Poetic? No, not really - but then the underlying 'meaning' of a whole a lot of poetry rests on deletion, inference, vagueness and ambiguity: ironically in the E-Prime form of the example, the floating around, 'out there' absolute 'question' has now vanished due to rightful attributation to a speaker.
H 1.7 'Where have you been until now?'
The sentence infers the subject has visited some other place: 'Where did you go before you came here', represents one translation.
H 1.8 'Are you available tonight?'
For what? What deletions hide behind the word 'available'? Available for a hanging? The non-specific nature of the question (which in itself indicates deletion) makes it almost certain that a 'to be' form will creep in. On the other hand: 'Will you come to the theatre with me tonight' represents a specific - and to the point - question.
H 1.9 And the Rest...
Numerous other examples of specific, difficult forms exist, and the user will no doubt come across many of these. Going any further with specifics here serves little purpose: the user should adapt the typical means presented to deal with the foregoing examples in any specific cases he/she encounters.
Appendix J: Other uses for the TemplatesJ.1 Challenging Form
Although primarily designed to assist in writing E-Prime, the templates/lists given can provide a useful tool when challenging dogmatic statements in writing or - more significantly - speech. Paraphrasing a speaker/writer's statement or question in E-Prime provides using an appropriate word form provides the simplest way to do this.Examples:The 'to be' process operates in every one of these statements, and statements like these impose their dubious logic upon our consciousness every day of our lives: example a) above illustrates how to unravel the root process that occurs.
..a) 'The Earth is a peardrop'
--- 'So you are saying that in your opinion the Earth resembles a peardrop?' Immediately, in one statement, some measure of rationality becomes restored to debate. The Earth no longer 'is' anything, it resembles something: the maneouvre opens the door to further challenges on the accuracy of the metaphor (see Appendix B.2) on multiple fronts - e.g. Does the Earth taste like a peardrop? Can you buy packets of 'Earths' at the local shop? What about the Earth's colour, does it match that of a peardrop?
..b) The first example, whilst illustrating the point, might appear trivial. The reader might care to use the same process to pull apart statements like:..b1) Party X is the natural party of Government
..b2) You are a stick in the mud
..b3) Z is public enemy number 1
..b4) The W regime is evil
..b5) Zongopop is cool
Appendix K: Some Short FormsK.1 Say What You Mean
Often, in short sentence form, particularly with questions, the speaker does not say what he/she means, but rather 'beats around the bush' and presents indirect word forms which, ergo, contain deletions. Take for example the question 'Who are you?' As a response, the speaker doesn't expect: 'A sack of coal,' or 'The Empire State Building,' or such, he expects a name or some kind of business affiliation. So, why doesn't he ask directly: 'Can you tell me your name?' or 'What business do you represent/have here?' Purist as these comments might seem, the (habital) problem does exist and therefore deserves attention.
Multiple examples of this peculiar 'not asking the right question' exist in 'to be' speak and some examples follow. The reader, by now, should possess the ability to compose other E-Prime forms to those shown (of both a specific and general nature).Examples:
..a) How are you?
How goes it? How has it been going recently?
..b) Is Smith there?
Can I speak to Smith? Tell Smith to report to me. Kindly connect me with Smith.
..c) Where is Z?
Tell me the whereabouts of Z. Where can I find Z? Kindly direct me to Z.
Appendix L: Brief Note on 'to be' Forms and Time/LocationL.1 Where and When
'To be' forms often occur in conjunction with time and/or location specification. Unravelling these forms represents no major difficulty and - rather than labour the point - I present the examples that follow (time/location forms followed by corrective verb in brackets) to illustrate. Note that 'location' verbs often take the form of progression...a) I will be here next week
..b) I was here ten minutes ago
..c) I have been here before
..d) We have been to the fair
..e) They were at the bus stop
(stood + earlier)
..f) They are arriving later
Appendix M : Philosophical Overtones...M.1 The Thinker and the Thought
This appendix reiterates some of the earlier material but with a more phlosophical slant.
As already given, users of the scheme presented here should realise that the words in any statement presented always represent that speaker's opinion and nothing else. In the realm of the 'to be' world, the actual process taking place when a NP1 (TO BE) NP2 assertion comes into existence involves a 'speaker' who chooses NP1, NP2 and also asserts the 'to be' relationship between them. The speaker then makes his assertion and promptly deletes himself - leaving the rest of us to consider the statement as if it had just 'appeared' in mid air as some irrefutable, cast iron fact, whereas in actuality the words merely represent an opinion. Since that represents the ACTUAL events taking place, the author of this paper recommends the inclusion of reference to the originator of any assertion, along with the assertion, SINCE TO DO SO ACCURATELY MODELS THE PROCESS.
As examples of what happens when speaker deletes himself, the statements: 'The moon is made of cheese' ('to be' form) and 'The moon resembles green cheese' (non-attributed E-prime) appear equally as meaningless. The latter form lacks the dogmatic nature of the first, yes, since it represents valid E-prime - but it remains incomplete. To state the 'real' case, information needs adding to correct the deletion which has occurred and qualify the E-Prime statement. When the words '...according to romantic poet Joe Bloggs' are added to the second sentence everything falls into place. Separation implicitly exists in the Aristotelian form of 'to be' speak: significantly in pure, attributed E-Prime, the thinker becomes re-attached to the thought - restoring the proper, factual order of things.
Appendix N: What Else?N.1 Closing Remarks
I have written this paper in order to provide a tutorial and some back up material. It does not, by a long way, represent the last word on E-Prime, and I hope that others who might follow along this path will improve and extend on that given. The study and organisation of the following areas may have possible value in this:..a) what language patterns set up 'to be' statements? One can start a sentence - sometimes in writing but more often in speech - and realise, before one has finished the first half dozen words or so that a 'to be' form inevitably rears up ahead like some unavoidable barrier on a road. What, particular language constructions give rise to this? Can one avoid them? (see also Appendix E.3)
..b) conversely - what particular language patterns lend themselves to avoiding 'to be' statements? As given previously, the use of active verbs/process words, especially near the beginning sentences comprises one group - do others exist?
..c) apart from the verb 'to be', do other language patterns exist in English that cause distortions in logic?
..d) do any easier ways of learning E-Prime exist, other than flogging through rote type exercises or struggling over each sentence composed?
E-Prime and Negotiation
Overcoming Conditioned/Habitual Behaviours
The Beginnings of Learning
Overcoming Conditioned Behaviours