Do you know those Duck Boats that roam up and down the Thames? Bright yellow amphibious boats. Great fun for kids and tourists. Well, one caught fire the other day. Luckily no people were injured. But a load of innocent auxiliary verbs perished in this ITN report shortly afterwards. Have a listen to the story.
Keep these small verbs alive
Auxiliary verbs – typically be, do and have – are only small, but they perform an important function. They give meaning to a sentence. Without them, phrases seem breathless, truncated. Here are extracts from the report, with the missing verbs in brackets.
“The emergency services (were) called after a Duck suddenly caught fire.”
“Passengers (were) being forced to jump into the water to escape the fire.”
“The World War II vehicle (was) eventually towed away by the fire brigade.”
“Luckily this woman (was) not involved in the emergency.”
Are we really so short of time that small verbs have to die to satisfy our tiny attention span? I hope not. Sink or swim, this is a plea to keep those little verbs alive.