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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

E-Prime, short for English-Prime, is a modified English syntax and vocabulary lacking all forms of the verb to be: be, is, am, are, was, were, been and being, and also their contractions. Sentences composed in E-Prime seldom contain the passive voice, which in turn may force the writer or speaker to think differently. By eliminating most uses of the passive voice, E-Prime compels the writer to explicitly acknowledge the agent of a sentence, possibly making the written text easier to read and understand.

Some regard E-Prime as a variant of the English language, while others consider it a mental discipline to filter their own speech and translate the speech of others. For example, the sentence "the movie was good" can become "I liked the movie" using the rules of E-Prime, which communicates the subjective nature of the speaker's experience rather than directly imparting a quality to the movie. Using E-Prime makes it harder for a writer or reader to confuse statements of opinion with statements of fact. According the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs, "Requiring students to avoid the verb to be on every assignment would deter students from developing other fundamental skills of fluent writing."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "E-Prime" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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