Tuesday’s Writing Tips: Nouns and Verbs

Tuesday’s Writing Tips 

The Elements of Style

It’s time for another writing tip from the book The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

Write with nouns and verbs.

Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjective and adverbs. The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place. This is not to disparage adjective and adverbs; they are indispensable parts of speech. Occasionally they surpise us with their power, as in

Up the airy mountain,

Down the rushy glen,

We daren’t go a-hunting

For fear of little men…

The nouns mountain and glen are accurate enough, but had the mountain not become airy, the glen rushy, William Allingham might never have got off the ground with his poem. In general, however, it is nouns and verbs not their assistants, that give good writing its toughness and color.



Today’s Haiku

torch your fears and
fuel endeavors with courage—
accept failure


Happy Tuesday and thanks for stopping by!


7 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Writing Tips: Nouns and Verbs

  1. Thanks, Nicole. I like your exception to the rule. Most of the poet’s I studied in grad school were the rule breakers of their times lol! I have one parent from Eastern decent, and it makes me aware that some of the 20th century rules ( especially related to verbs and adverbs ) are of Western bias. For some peoples being is more peaceful than doing. Few songs are played forte through-out. Just thought I’d add to the discussion.

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