Linda emailed a response to Common Problems (Part 1 of 50). She wrote, "But everyone tells you not to use the state-of-being verbs! The writers in my Word Weavers group continually complain about having to overwrite and add sentences to compensate for not using is, are, was and words ending in 'ly.'"
Everyone doesn’t. I don’t say such things and I am a real person. The apostle Paul spoke about zeal that wasn’t according to knowledge. That is the case here. Good writing is natural writing.
The purpose of writing isn’t to be clever or to avoid certain words. The purpose is to say something clearly so that readers understand without having to figure out what you mean.
In the two paragraphs above, I’ve put state-of-being verbs in italics. Did you have any problems understanding my meaning?
If I were writing for publication, I’d say it better.
Did you notice I used were in the previous sentence? That’s how we show the subjunctive mood. That is, something contrary to fact or uncertain. How else would you write that sentence without were and retain the meaning?