Wednesday, January 18, 2006

E Prime

Imagine, if you will, a version of the English language that has no passive voice. A language that also does not assert any unsubstantiated opinion or observation as a fact. A reasonable person would surely support such a language. It exists, and it goes by the name E Prime. Or E-Prime.

This subject doesn't really lend itself to unfettered ranting, because I feel constrained without my state-of-being verbs. My mind keeps trying to revert to its old habits, and can only be kept on course by continual vigilence that inhibits verbosity. On the other hand, the average number of syllables in the words I use increases when I write in E-Prime. Whether readers find that desirable or not, who knows. The density of the prose definitely increases.

Some scientists like to use E-Prime for their reports. I don't think it will catch on in literary circles. I have considered converting this blog to E-Prime only, but I don't make any commitments yet.

I believe I can restrict my Achenblog comments to E-Prime; at least I can keep it going as long as Joel can. He has the harder task: E-Prime humor. I look forward to seeing whether he can do it.

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