In my class, students are not allowed to use say/said, get/got, come/came, go/went, or see/saw/look (this list is representative but not complete) because those verbs are overused and have become meaningless and boring. Students are required to use their thesaurus (gasp! yes, really) to discover stronger, more vibrant verbs to substitute in their stories. I also have banned the use of very and really as adverbs. Pretty and ugly can easily be replaced with more descriptive adjectives. How many times have you heard someone or something described as 'pretty ugly'? Banning boring words increases my correcting times but at the same time increases my enjoyment quotient while reading stories. How fun it is to read a nine year old's paper where the characters 'admonishingly stated', 'replied smugly', 'demanded', 'shouted' and 'exclaimed'. Another child (also nine) wrote that his characters 'fumed' and 'inquired'. However, my favorite substitution for said this week was 'whined woefully'.
Now it is time for me to depart for my class where I will enthusiastically teach my students to exchange 'gallop, run, trot, race, proceed, saunter, and stroll' for that boring banned verb 'go'. Gotta