Posts Tagged ‘e-prime’

E-Prime: The Invented Language That Has No Verb To Be

15 Jul

To be or not to be ... is not a question in the invented language of E-Prime. TopTenz explains:

Another language constructed to make a philosophical point, E-Prime is simply a version of English that forbids all forms of the verb ‘to be’ (is, was, were, etc).

According to Alfred Korzybski, who promoted the language in his 1933 book Science and Sanity, E-Prime can be used to sharpen critical thinking and make ideas clearer. For example, in E-prime a person can’t say ‘This is an awful movie’: it must be rephrased as ‘I dislike this movie.’ ‘You’re wrong’ is also impossible: instead he must say ‘I disagree with you.’ Because of this, it’s easier for speakers and listeners distinguish fact from opinion.

On the other hand, following E-Prime to the letter becomes burdensome: ‘This is a flower’ must become something like ‘English speakers call this a flower.’ Today, E-Prime remains popular, but mostly just as an interesting thought exercise to improve clarity.

Read more about the Top 10 Invented Languages: Link