A look at the language of responsibility in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
There's always more to know about verbs. Or, I should say: "We can always learn more about verbs."
As I continue dipping into Constance Hale's new book on the power of verbs, "Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch," touched on here last week, I'm reminded that "there is" can be a wimpy way to start a sentence.
So can the use of the passive voice, and Ms. Hale rightly inveighs against its overuse. But before she gets too deep into the weeds of "voice," in a grammatical sense, she introduces other important distinctions.
The metaphor she chooses is bread. The first distinction she draws is between dynamic and static verbs. Dynamic verbs – action verbs – are of the crunchy, hearty, whole-grain variety. Static verbs – in all its forms; other linking verbs (, , ); and auxiliary and causative verbs ("Don't me yell") – are the white bread. White bread can be pretty bland, even a lovely baguette. But a baguette makes a great support medium for raspberry jam. And so even bland white-bread verbs have their purpose: to hold delicious nouns, adjectives, and adverbs in interesting sentences.