The problem with English, according to D. David Bourland Jr., is the use of the verb “to be,” which allows “even the most ignorant to transform their opinions magically into god-like pronouncements on the nature of things,” so he invented E-Prime—English without all that be-ing.
If you are speaking E-Prime, you don’t say “My cat is named Piddles,” you say, “I call my cat Piddles.” You don’t say “It is hot as hell,” you say, “I feel hot as hell.” You can read more deeply into E-Prime in Bourland’s essay collections: To Be or Not: An E-Prime Anthology, More E-Prime: To Be or Not II, and E-Prime III: a third anthology.
How to learn E-Prime: It seems easy to read and speak E-Prime—just don’t use any form of “to-be”—but it’s actually maddeningly difficult. (I mean, “I have difficulty with it.”)
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