E-Prime at the Linguistic Fun Page!

I've practiced E-Prime in my writing for many years now. I believe it has clarified my communication; it has certainly clarified my thinking. (I ought to try to perform some kind of retrospective analysis.) I haven't yet tried to use E-Prime in my speech.

This page provides some general references about E-Prime as well as some documentation of my experiences.

Overview of E-Prime

In short, E-Prime refers to the English language used without any form of the verb to be. D. David Bourland, Jr. originated the idea as an extension of general semantics, a field of study and practice that seeks to regulate the evaluative operations performed in the human brain. The article TOWARD UNDERSTANDING E-PRIME by Robert Anton Wilson provides an excellent summary, including several examples (some a bit contrived). Wikipedia, as usual, provides a good overview of E-Prime.


Why non-intelligent machines will never translate English into E-Prime.

E-Prime: Not necessarily more accurate, but more easily refutable.

Difficult phrases

Over the years, I've had trouble translating some statements into E-Prime.
English Notes E-Prime
My birthday is January 15th. E-Prime generally requires a subjective actor. Though a statement of fact, this English construct describes the speaker as the object of birth. Most cultures consider birth a sensitive topic, making it hard to describe the actor, the mother, and the action, bearing or giving birth. Clunky: My mother had me on January 15th.
How are you? How've you been? What have you been up to? This general category of questioning seeks to catch the speaker up with the happenings of the recipient. Clunky: What have you done lately? How have things gone for you lately?

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