This was the assignment as it was handed out:

Write 5 sentences using the following format:

Subject+Verbs+Complimentary Phrasing

"Strangle the verbs" I guess she means to mess up the tenses.

Then take the 5 sentences and "free" up the verbs, by which Im guessing she means correct the sentences.

I'm thinking something like this:

WRONG: I am teaching an English class
CORRECT: I teach English.

Just not sure if it comes under the format she's looking for.

Any help to get me started would be appreciated!!


Go back to the teacher and get some clarification, or go through your textbook if you have one or through your class notes looking for clues. This doesn't make any sense to me. Strangling and freeing up verbs? Hmmm. She's obviously not speaking literally here. Maybe she's gone round the bend.
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I emailed the prof and this is what she wrote back:

"Hi Kevin,
Good that you asked. I meant that you should strangle the verb with "to be" and
"ing" or start to, begin to. For example, She seems to be starting to enjoy her
job. After the first month, she enjoys her new job. In the second sentence, the
reader gets to "enjoy", the important part of the sentence without all the fluff
and clutter around it.
When I mentioned tenses, I meant you should try at least one sentence in past
tense, one in present tense and one in future tense. Have fun with it.
Penny Kinnear

I'd appreciate if you could give me some more examples based on the above.
I'm not trying to misuse this forum, but am genuinely looking for some help.

OK. Now it makes more sense, although it still isn't exactly crystal clear!
The teacher is asking for illustrations of pairs of sentences. The first sentence is wimpy, tentative, and indirect. The second is strong, definite, and clear.

In her illustration, she uses "seems" ("seems to be"), "starting" (I sometimes call them "weasel words".) to give the wimpy version. She rephrases without those words to create the improved, direct version. The verb she's "strangling" in this case is "enjoy".

It may be easier to try the clear and direct sentence first, then "weasel it up" or "wimp it down" (whatever you want to call it -- you may decide to use the term "strangle" yourself!) Generally, the direct version will have fewer words.

Indirect ("weasely", "wimpy", "strangled"): It seems I might possibly have to start thinking about getting all these errands finished before it is time for dinner.
Direct: I have to finish all these errands before dinner.

Indirect: Mr. and Mrs. Dawson were completely indecisive and so began having one doubt after another concerning whether they should go through the trouble of doing all that house-painting themselves or whether they should consider hiring a professional painter to do it.

Direct: The Dawsons couldn't decide whether to paint the house themselves or hire a professional.

OK. Your turn! Emotion: smile