Improve your text instantly with this simple rule: Eliminate “to be” and all forms of ing.

Your sentences will gain purpose and strength as you articulate exactly who does what.

You will no longer lope along with constructions that posit a vague notion of activity—someone is going to be doing something—instead you will claim the subjects and their predicates with equal enthusiasm.

Consider the difference between these groups of sentences:

PASSIVE: I am going to be going to the fair.
FEARLESS: I strode to the rodeo.

PASSIVE: Social media is going to be one of the biggest influencing factors of the coming decade for every market and every industry.
FEARLESS: Social media influences all.

PASSIVE: Using a mobile phone or connecting online is becoming commonplace for teens and young adults even while watching TV.
FEARLESS: Teens eschew the notion of single-screen consumption.

Now you try it!

For your next email or love note or quarterly review, give yourself the challenge to write without “to be” or -ing. The task requires forethought, but the rewards perpetually delight.

Want to comment? Reply via Twitter.

Read more designstory.