E-Prime (which means English Prime ) is a way of speaking English without using the verb “to be” or “to be”, in English to be , anywhere ( be , is , am , are , was , were , been , being ) [ 1 ] . In exchange, a speaker or a clerk E-Prime uses different verbs like “make” (in English to Become ), “remain” ( to remain ) and “match” ( to equal), or they can reconstruct the phrase to show who or what is doing the action.
For example, in E-Prime , a scribe would change the phrase Mistakes were made = “Mistakes were made” to Joe made mistakes = “Joe made mistakes”. This wording change reveals an actor (Joe), while the preceding form hid the actor. E-Prime users would consider the changed phrase more appropriate.
- David Bourland, Jr. was the one who first proposed E-Primein 1965 . Bourland had studied General Semantics in the past. The main idea of General Semantics is that human beings can merely know what they observe and experience when they see, feel, touch and feel and current observations and experiences can affect future observations and experiences. Since everyone has different experiences than the others, the interpretations of the experiences are also different.
General Semantics students and E-Prime users insist on saying This cat is soft = “This cat is soft”, omitting numerous other attributes and implying that the cat’s outer “object” is “same as” the inner experience of “being soft”. In return, E-Prime users say This cat feels soft TO ME = “This cat feels soft” to remember the following things:
- his experience of “being soft” includes the outer “object” called “cat” and the viewer’s eyes , hands , brain and nervous system ;
- someone else could experience different aspects of the cat;
- they themselves could experience a different thing at a different time or under different circumstances (the cat could appear damp or covered with dirt).
What is not E-Prime
E-Prime and General Semantics are not different languages or forms of English. In short, they reserve different ways of thinking and talking about the world. Languages like Arabic , Turkish and Cantonese , although they do not have a separate verb for “to be” or “to be”, have the idea of ”to be”. For example, an individual speaking in our language could say “This apple is red”. Another speaking in Arabic could say (in literal translation) “This red apple”.
Most languages can be used to express the idea of a red apple. An E-Prime user may merely say (in literal translation) “This apple appears red to me” to remember that “being red” includes the apple, the eye and the brain of the person watching the apple.
Numerous English experts warn students to use verbs other than “to be” or “to be”. For them, the use of more active verbs makes the written work clearer and more interesting. These scholars want to refine works written by their students and do not necessarily accept the ideas of General Semantics or E-Prime