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Chantal’s Influence Tips 55: One of the most important changes you can make


How often do you stop to consider the impact of the words you are using?

In 1949, D. David Bourland, who was following Alfred Korzybski’s work, recommended that all forms of the verb “to be” should be deleted from our language.   It literally means taking the ‘IS’ out of all sentences. He called this E-Prime (English-Prime).
So why would you want to take the IS out of your language?!
Well for starters, it can be quite limiting to state things as a certainty. (You’ll notice I’m not saying ‘it is quite limiting’.)
Some benefits of using e-prime:
-avoid resistance / get more agreement
-diffuse conflict
-increase new possibilities
-sharpen your thinking
-reduce ambiguity
-reveal hidden assumptions (so you can challenge them)
-get clarity around ideas/problems
-avoid premature judging
-increase learning
Here are some examples:
Standard English E-prime version
John is frustrated  John seems frustrated
This is a waste of time This could be a waste of time
This is wrong I’m not sure if this makes sense
The sky is blue The sky looks blue to me
I’m fat I feel bloated
You’re wrong about that
I don’t see it the same way / I don’t agree
She isn’t committed to this She seems less interested than she was before
Standard English from verb ‘to be’ E-prime versions include;
is, be, am, was,wasn’t, are become, can, could, might, may, will, occurs
Life is created via our perceptions, not via absolute truths. Yet it’s the idea that our opinions are the truth, that sometimes gets us into trouble!
Your challenge, should you wish to accept it:
For the next 10 days, practise e-prime (verbally
and in writing), wherever possible.
Take the IS out of your language.
Notice what happens. Please email me or post your insights on my blog.         
As you become more aware of how you’re using language, you’ll realise just how crucial it can be to shape your experience (and the experience of others)
Chantal Burns ScreenshotChantal Burns

Executive Coach, Speaker and Bestselling Author of

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