Beyond Is: Creative Writing with English Prime Research Paper at Journal of Poetics Research

A brief history of a prescriptive English language discipline known as English Prime (E-Prime), a method of writing without use of the copula (the verb to be). Writing in E-Prime requires the author to expose the agent of a sentence and therefore lends itself favourably to other techniques of mimetic storytelling. An examination of my experiments using this constraint for creative writing demonstrates that utilising E-Prime enhances vernacular authenticity, improves clarity, readability and the quality of immersion in a text. The E-Prime constraint offers access to dynamics of language ordinarily subliminal. The little word ‘is’ has its tragedies; it marries and identifies different things with the greatest innocence; and yet no two are ever identical, and if therein lies the charm of wedding them and calling them one, therein too lies the danger. – George Santayana (1955: 71)

English Prime (E-Prime): Writing/speaking in the English language without the copula, i.e. excluding tenses of the verb to be (are, am, is, was, were, be, been and being) and / or their contractions. (Bourland 1989: 203)

Full paper online at Journal of Poetics Research