Flying, writing, and other thINGs – words that work

Words that end with “-ing” often don’t provide the best bang for your writer’s buck.


I am thinking about going to Ikea.
I might take a trip to Ikea.

When building something from a kit, checking for all the parts is essential.
If you plan to assemble Ikea furniture, first ensure that you have all the parts you’ll need.
[Not that I have any personal experience…]

Getting screws into the pre-drilled holes caused my fingers to start hurting.
[Just kidding: My fingers ached when I tried to tighten the screws.]

Notice how getting rid of the “-ing” words makes the language more present. Sometimes it seems to me that “-ing” is like the velvet rope in front of a museum painting: it keeps us from getting too close. But unless you’re writing a standoffish character, you want to draw your listeners or readers close. They’re much more likely to remember what you have to say.

My favorite use of “-ing” words: The Roches

This video doesn’t replicate the full glory of the recording, which used the magic of stereophonic sound to have the “-ing” burst from alternating sides of the listening environment. But it’s still one of the most amusing songs about words I’ve ever heard. Enjoy!

Hmmm…Wordpress doesn’t seem to want me to embed the video. Until I can get that sorted out, here’s a link.

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