virus: E-prime as a Tool Against Manipulation

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 16:43:28 -0800

Credit to David McF for bringing it up:

I find it very interesting. Some examples seem to be silly, as suggesting
to say "the grass appears to be green" rather than "the grass is green", but
most of them I find enlightening and I am going to use the technique to
notice more of what people say (and to watch my language as well). Would
anybody like to share real examples how it changes their perception of what
is being said when they try to eliminate the word "is"? Here is an example
(should I say "I provide an example below and if everything goes fine with
my e-mail I hope you will be able to read it"? :-)):

My first attempt to use the technique was on my favourite book:
"Such-and-such IS a creative genius" it said about the author. E-prime
stimulates probing questions: "according to whom he is a creative genius?".
The note is unsigned. If the author said "I consider myself a creative
genius" it would have sounded differently from: "such-and-such in
this-and-that calls me/him a creative genius".

If one wants to hide the manipulation behind the "is" (which E-prime makes
us aware of) it seems beneficial to spread a belief in harmful effects of
truth-seeking. If I ask Richard, who said he was a creative genius, I know
he will most likely answer "don't be so much obsessed with truth, Tad".
Those memes work well together.

Regards, Tadeusz (Tad) Niwinski from planet TeTa (604) 985-4159