How to Write Quotations in English Prime

Take one English-Standard quotation:

"Friendship without self-interest is one of the rare and beautiful things of life." — James F. Byrnes

Convert it into English-Prime:

  1. Identify any 'to be' verbs. In this case: 'is', also known in maths as '='.
  2. Realise the speaker's inherent dogmatism or absolutism, intentioned or not.
  3. Undelete the 'point of view' of the speaker with a line such as, "according to <speaker>" to reference their opinion as relative.
  4. Use a phrase to replace 'to be' with an active verb such as 'appears', 'seems', 'shows charateristics of' etc.

End result:

Friendship without self-interest, according to James F. Byrnes, appears to resemble one of the rare and beautiful things of life.

A relatively non-dogmatic statement i.e. one which encourages free thought and open-debate which you can use in your essays, articles, reports, dissertations etc.

Let's say we had to research and write about a topic like friendship. The following excerpt I have written used E-Prime rules to show how I can have the opinions of another relatively integrated with my own:

Friends, in Emily Dickinson's perception, portray as her "estate". I agree to the extent that your friends can resemble valued possessions except you don't actually own them no more then they might own you.

Where Aristotle onced alleged that without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all the other goods I would agree in relation to Seal who once sang and inferred that loneliness resembles the social "killer" which corresponds with "high extroversion" in my view.

In essence, each 'point of view' presents relative to the other and as a whole we could, by popular vote, call these collections of opinions a doctrine. This would apply in general to incorporating different philosophies, systems, theories, opinions etc. into a new singular field hence the cliché that nothing seems truly original (at least in E-Prime rules).


Comments (1)

From Insanity to Sanity in 5 Minutes

I stumbled upon the following quote which said "instant insanity" to me. What do you think?

"Better a Has-been than a Never-was. But better a Never-was than a Never-tried-to-be." ~unknown

The latter part seems especially confusing to me and paradoxical. Let's see if I can make any sense out of it with a personalised e-primed interpretation…

It would seem to me that failing to try to do something appoximates worse then simply not trying to do at all. Though all things considered it may seem better to have never acted then to have ventured into something with all that may go with it.

The overall message in a nutshell would appear to me that a person should act with diligence to minimize a small demon called 'risk'. It now comes across to me that the quote author abstractively rationalized the inhererent laziness that can go with making things happen.

Eh Voila!

Comments (7)

Standard English: What Seems *To Be* The Problem?

How are you? Why are you? When are you?
Where are you? What are you? Who are you?

Common questions which in my view evoke passive answers that would seem disassociated with reality.

To quote the 'to be' verb directly from (with my basic concerns highlighted in red):

be (bē)

v., First and third person singular past indicative was (wŭz, wŏz; wəz when unstressed), second person singular and plural and first and third person plural past indicative were (wûr), past subjunctive were, past participle been (bĭn), present participle be·ing (bē'ĭng), first person singular present indicative am (ăm), second person singular and plural and first and third person plural present indicative are (är), third person singular present indicative is (ĭz), present subjunctive be.

v. intr.

  1. To exist in actuality; have life or reality: I think, therefore I am.
    1. To occupy a specified position: The food is on the table.
    2. To remain in a certain state or situation undisturbed, untouched, or unmolested: Let the children be.
  2. To take place; occur: The test was yesterday.
  3. To go or come: Have you ever been to Italy? Have you been home recently?
  4. Used as a copula in such senses as:
    1. To equal in identity: “To be a Christian was to be a Roman” (James Bryce).
    2. To have a specified significance: A is excellent, C is passing. Let n be the unknown quantity.
    3. To belong to a specified class or group: The human being is a primate.
    4. To have or show a specified quality or characteristic: She is witty. All humans are mortal.
    5. To seem to consist or be made of: The yard is all snow. He is all bluff and no bite.
  5. To belong; befall: Peace be unto you. Woe is me

v. aux.

  1. Used with the past participle of a transitive verb to form the passive voice: The mayoral election is held annually.
  2. Used with the present participle of a verb to express a continuing action: We are working to improve housing conditions.
  3. Used with the infinitive of a verb to express intention, obligation, or future action: She was to call before she left. You are to make the necessary changes.
  4. Archaic. Used with the past participle of certain intransitive verbs to form the perfect tense: “Where be those roses gone which sweetened so our eyes?” (Philip Sidney).

Let us now review my concerns…

  1. "To remain in a certain state" enforces the notion to me of absolutism and seems to dismiss a concept raised in General Semantics known as Time-Binding. In essence, me-today does not equate to me-yesterday unless I remained in a constant state of (passive) being having never (actively) DONE anything even remotely progressive in my existence.
  2. "To take place; occur" enforces to me the notion that while something may have already occurred i.e. in the past, due to the passive usage of 'to be' we may harper on it as absolute and not relative to "now". For example, the way something was doesn't equate to what something can become "now" or "later" regardless of what it was "then"!
  3. "To equal in identity" enforces to me the notion of immediate controversy between any identity other than your own with perhaps a mental-blocking (passive) thought like "I want to be like you for you are my idol!" rather then the (active) thought that "I want to do the things you do or have done to mimic your behaviour, success etc. as my own".
  4. "To have a specified significance" enforces to me the pseudo-importance of a pseudo-question such as Who are you? which would always seem to concern itself with the past, the present and the future concurrently.
  5. "To belong to a specified class or group" enforces the notion to me of one person being right say by popular opinion thus making all other opinions wrong and controversial or to quote from the film The Highlander, "there can be only one" just before a fellow immortal has his head chopped off.
  6. "To have or show a specified quality or characteristic" enforces the notion to me of "definiteness-of-character" which in my experience seems like a great trap for people who get obsessed by what others say about them and develop emotional problems as a result including mental blocks towards change.

In conclusion, the 'to be' verb would seem to me to distort the mind as a passive verb. On the other hand, English Prime enforces active verb usage. In effect, so that we may leave a passive state of being and enter an active state of DOING.

It would seem to me that conditioned states of being begin in childhood perhaps due to a ubiquitous pseudo-question that children usually get asked – What do you want to be when you grow up?

Thus in my view where be encourages a narrow-focused existence and DO encourages a wider-scoped existence without the pressures of being anything specific.

Comments (13)

How to Apply *Semantic Hygiene* with E-Prime

If you wish to learn and understand more about E-Prime, it's history and relation to General Semantics then please visit the links contained on this web site.

For those who would like the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple) treatment, the following summarises how to structure your thoughts including alternatives to the illustrious 'to be' verbs such as "is" and "am" etc.

Phrases that Undelete 'Point of View'

X says that, X believes, X asserts that, In X's opinion, X hold's the view, In X's view, X assumes that, In X's appreciation, In X's understanding, X perceives that, In X's perception, X insists that, X claims, From X's point of view, X said yesterday that, X pronounces that, X pronounced that, X holds that, X holds the opinion that, X has pronounced that, X thinks that, X has the view that, X maintains that, X affirms that, X made it known that, X maintains that, X asserts that, X alleges that, X suggests that, X imagines that, X estimates that, In X's estimation, X claims that, X observes that, According to X, X declares that, X has declared that, In X's observation, X observes that, X contends that, X has argued that

Phrases that Replace 'to be'

accords with, acts like, acts as if, represents, resembles, seems like, simulates, apes, approaches, approximates, approximates to, behaves like, smells like, sounds like, symbolizes, takes after, tallies with, tastes like, typifies, caricatures, coincides with, compares with, conforms with, copies, correlates with, corresponds to, corresponds with, cross maps to, depicts, duplicates, emulates, epitomizes, equals, equates to, illustrates, imitates, impersonates, likens to, looks like, matches, means, echoes, mirrors, models, moves like, paraphrases, passes for, performs like, portrays, poses like, reflects, acts in the manner of, postures in the style of, imitates the behavior of, behaves in the manner of, has the attributes of, behaves in like manner to, can be modeled upon, demonstrates the behavior of, echoes the behavior of, maneuvers in the style of, patterns itself on, matches that of, can be modeled as, employs tactics like, follows the pattern of, follows the behavior of, follows the same patterns as, follows the path of, has the attributes of, has similar characteristics to, has the same characteristics as, has some of the same characteristics as, reflects the behavior of, replicates the behavior of, has some of the characteristics of (Non-exhaustive list.)

Example: The dog "is" stupid. becomes… In my view, the dog behaves stupidly.

Recomposed from an original E-Prime Tutorial by Dan Scorpio.

Comments (1)

Cleaning Up Action-Zapping Thoughts

As I become increasingly frustrated by the lack of action I will now realise any apparent insanity in certain thoughts conceived in Standard English and hopefully remove the paradoxes and neuroses with English Prime or at least, to get things debatable again with et cetera.

SE: There is no right or wrong time to get moving.
EP: In my view, the "right" or "wrong" time to get moving equates to "now" or at a scheduled time "later" due to any constraints when working around others – anything else would correspond with irrational procrastinations leading to time lost in the pursuit of happiness thus causing unhappiness during limbo-lethargic states.

SE: The ulimate failure is death.
EP: It would seem to me that death approximates with "the ultimate failure" in life which in itself should not represent a reason to allow things I consider close to death such as procrastination to impede on my actions.

SE: An excerpt from Gangsters Paradise by Coolio:

"Death ain’t nothing but a heartbeat away;
I'm living life do or die, what can I say;
I'm 23 now but will I live to see 24;
The way things is going I don't know"

EP: My version, although not as musical perhaps:

Death seems to me like nothing but a heartbeat away;
I equate my life to doing or dying, what can I say;
I have reached "23" but will I live to see "24";
The way things come across now I should know;


SE: "Failure is not the only punishment for laziness; there is also the success of others." ~Jules Renard (1864 – 1910)
EP: It would seem to me that failure does not represent the only punishment for laziness because I cannot deny the inherent envy that comes from the success of others due to their ability to have acted where I may decide to have not in a society that protects individual rights to achieve "anything" without infringing on the rights of other individuals.

SE: "Idleness and lack of occupation tend – nay are dragged – towards evil." ~Hippocrates (460 BC – 377 BC)
EP: It would seem to me that idleness and a lack of occupation would come across as "evil" leading to such conditions as anxiety and depression.

SE: "Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy." ~Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)
EP: Indolence seems to me like a step towards greatness for it acknowledges the pain of something currently which we then may want to move away from though bearing the pain for the time it takes to progress; it would then seem like the act of doing equates to producing happiness.

SE: "He that is busy is tempted by but one devil; he that is idle, by a legion." ~Thomas Fuller (1608 – 1661)
EP: It would seem to me that a "busy person" has but one personal demon that would approximate with the thought of boredom caused by idleness; however the "idle person" has a multitude of personal demons such as the fear of acting out of a fear of failure or a fear of change etc.

SE: "Luck is always the last refuge of laziness and incompetence." ~James Cash Penney (1875 – 1971)
EP: In my view, luck equates with believing in external "authorities" to solve your own problems of laziness and incompetence such as expecting a miracle like winning the lottery to make your already lazy and incompetent life more tolerable rather then "better" per se.

Most of the original quotes above in my opinion approximate with insanity due to high levels of abstraction which gave me a "WTF?!" response when actually trying to understand them at first glance.

Do the English Prime responses/equivalents demystify the messages in any way? In my view, unequivocally yes.

This would seem to me like a pre-packaged e-primed (i.e. sane) quotation:

"Know the true value of time: snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today." ~Lord Chesterfield (1694 – 1773)

Thank you Lord Chesterfield for enlightening us with your moment of sanity and clarity.

Comments (21)

Interlude: The Non-Sense

Image and video hosting by

"Some of them don't even know they're dumb." –how dogmatic though somehow true in an exclusively warped-humour kind of way.

Comments (1)

Thinking More Critically About Happiness

After reading a few random quotations on "happiness" I wondered about re-thinking them through personally in less abstract English Prime.

So, let us see what has "been" said i.e. dogmatically and/or abstractly, and open the gateway to a new forum of (infinite) thought within the concept of "et cetera"

SE: What is happiness? ~a psuedo-question
EP: What does "happiness" seem like to you? ~a real-question

SE: "That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest." ~Henry David Thoreau
EP: In my perception, a person who desires less equates with a higher contentment which may approximate with a personal philosophy of living life with simplicity.

SE: "It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis." ~Margaret Bonnano
EP: In my perception, a certain amount of strategic long-range thinking, planning and organization must come before we can build our happiness one day at a time.

SE: "Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination." ~Mark Twain
EP: I would hold that the notion of "sanity" corresponds with a person's capability to think logically and rationally that can produce an appropriate course of actions which should indeed generate "happiness". The original quote suggests to me that "happiness" does not seem to come from originating logical and rational thought. It then raises a question, does insanity generate happiness? It seems to me that it does though in a warped way such as an act of bullying or irrational self-interests to raise one's own "happiness" account, at least temporarily.

SE: "To fill the hour — that is happiness." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
EP: It seems to me that to raise your "happiness" credits you must do something productive of value. It also seems that a waste of time approximates to a waste of the life-energy that tallies with a moment lost in accruing personal "happiness".

SE: "Independence is happiness." ~Susan B. Anthony
EP: According to MSN Encarta, "independence" can simply mean freedom from control and I would say that it does equate with "happiness" since dependence on others would seem to me as dishonest and lazy unless the person(s) in question portray a true inability such as during a time of "illness". It raises the interesting thought of how it requires conscious effort to generate happiness which seems to me as the antithesis of relying on "spoon-feeding" that builds growing guilt and indifference to capitalising on the gift of life represented by our own existence.

SE: "Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city." ~George Burns
EP: It would seem to me that "happiness" has little or nothing to do with the existence of a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city unless we considered a warped-happiness associated with a long-distance spritual dependence.

Does it seem to you like the quotations in Standard English include distortions and high abstractions or "spooks" i.e. disassociations with reality in which E-Prime removes and attempts to re-associate leading the way to a "healthy" open-debate more in touch with reality?

P.S. The last quote by George Burns seemed to reek with insanity when I actually thought about trying to equate "happiness" with the other side of the "is" equation.

P.S. P.S. As it seems to me, each notional statement in English Prime evokes a clearer et cetera thought should anyone including myself wish to elaborate further on the anti-dogmatic ideas I have given.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »