Words on Writing: E

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enallage (anthimeria, grammatical shift)

Usage of a word outside its natural forms or functions. In This weather will not peace us, the word peace functions, uncharacteristically—enallagistically, you might say—as a verb.

For more, see the chapter “A Modern Take (Is Take a Noun?) on Parts of Speech” in Word Up!

E-Prime (English-Prime, E′)

A form of English that excludes be‑verbs. Advocates claim that E-Prime (proposed by D. David Bourland Jr., a student of philosopher Alfred Korzybski) clarifies thinking and strengthens writing. E-Prime rejects statements like Shoveling is the worst, which presents judgment as fact, in favor of statements that more accurately communicate a speaker’s experience: I spit in shoveling’s general direction.

For more, see the chapter “To Be or Not To Be” in Word Up!

equational verb

See linking verb.


See interjection.

expletive (dummy word)

A word that has no grammatical function. In phrases like there is, there are, it is, it was, the words there and it are expletives. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, expletive (in its adjective form) means “introduced merely to occupy space … serving merely to fill out a sentence, help out a metrical line, etc. Also occas. of a mode of expression: Redundant, wordy.”

See also filler word.

For more, see the chapter “To Be or Not To Be” in Word Up!

A-Z page

This is not a list of all words about writing—you’d be scrolling all day. These definitions evolved while I was writing Word Up! I enjoyed what I learned and wanted to share it.

Get the full glossary and more in the book: Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything You Build from Them)

Last modified: October 21, 2022