I think this rule starts in second grade, and teachers keep trying to pound it into our heads through high school.
“Strong verbs create action, save words, and reveal the players.”
Unfortunately, even though I know the concept, as a college student, I don’t always stick to it. Especially with using the to be form.
Clark defines the three basket of verbs (20) succinctly and quickly:
1. “If the subject performs the action of the verb, we call the verb active.”
2. “If the subject receives the action of the verb, we call the verb passive.”
3. “A verb that is neither active nor passive is a linking verb, a form of the verb to be.”
Also, avoid verb qualifiers, such as sort of, tend to, kind of, must have, seemed to, could have, used to, and begin to (21).