I was recently reminded of E', that is, English without any forms of the verb "to be". Are there any tools for writing in E'?

More generally, it could be useful to have writing tools which help you taboo specific words, to try and write/think more clearly.

To be clear, I don't (currently) think there's a set of words which just should be tabood generally, including forms of "to be" -- but tabooing specific words at times can be very useful.

Another example is the idea (which is related to nonviolent communication) that we shouldn't use "should" and related words (such as "ought"). Trying to speak without these words for a time can help eliminate specific mistakes in thinking.

There's also Simple English, which is a restricted set of English words. This is kind of like tabooing almost everything. You can practice writing in Simple English using the XKCD Simple Writer.

Another tool for writing plainly is Hemingway Editor, which tells you when you use complex sentence structure, big words, extraneous words, or phrases with simpler alternatives. It also marks the reading grade level! Unfortunately, although it marks passive voice, it doesn't mark all occurrences of "to be", so it doesn't help practice E'.

The best thing (for me at least) would be a Chrome extension that makes it easy to taboo specific words whenever you want, anywhere you're writing on the internet.

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A problem with any simple implementation, like editing the dictionary of your spell checker, is that you may want to taboo one meaning of a word but not another. For example, I try not to talk about privilege - the thing the oppressors are supposed to have and the oppressed do not have. However, I have no objection to talking about privilege - the thing where certain relationships (attorney/client, doctor/patient, etc) create an exception to the general duty to testify when subpoenaed.

Can you tell your spellchecker that they're not words?

Possibly, but it would be nice to have something less heavy-handed, where I specifically have a special list of taboo terms. I've looked a little, but it seems pretty plausible to me that someone has coded up something... a related thing is the xkcd thing explainer.

6Stuart Anderson2moSomething like Notepad++ with custom syntax highlighting from a user defined language?

I have settled on trying out an auto text expander for Chrome. You can, for example, set it to expand the string "taboo" to "*taboo", to remind you to avoid the word taboo. You can then easily delete the "*" if you really want to "cheat" this one time.

Rather than tabooing certain words, learning a new language that dont contain those concepts is probably far more efficient. Many years ago I learnt Norse (ie pre-Christian scandinavian, "viking language"). It only contains one modal help verb (ie should, would, ought to, want to, can, have to) are all one word with the same meaning. Once you get fluent in a language like that your way of thinking will change and then you will change. I wonder which other languages exist that contain similar ways of avoiding certain thought traps, and which those traps are..

I would contest "far more efficient" (learning a language is a lot harder!), but I have heard that thinking in a language you're not a native speaker in is in itself a boost to problem solving, so yeah, this could totally be worth it.

I'm curious why you might consider only-one-modal an advantage. What traps does that help avoid?

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A chrome extension sounds promising; I wanted a similar tool to help me improve my writing skills. Concretely, I noticed that I would end up hedging a lot in my online conversations, including needless disclaimers like "I think", "I suppose", "I guess", etc. that would detract from the clarity of my writing.

I also thought of a Chrome extension; a quick search turned up Word Replacer, a generalized version of extensions like 'cloud to butt' and 'millennials to snake people', which could probably be finagled into being the thing you want. e.g. you could replace the words you want to taboo with '---'. I don't know how/if the extension works on word processors though; I am not a programmy human.

Ah, that might be good! (I'd rather it just highlight the words, giving me the option to say them anyway, but it'd do in a pinch)

Rationalist Grammarly

I've sometimes used Hemingway Editor for this kind of thing, although it's not a Chrome extension, so you have to write there separately.

I would like something similar for simplified English. I tend to write to my own level and that's not always a good fit for a broader audience.

I think there's a danger when you see the relationship of nonviolent communication as one about tabooing should. People who just exchange their vocabulary for NVC words without changing their intended meaning don't get very far and generally give NVC a bad name. 

Nobody, who really operates from a should-less-frame says "we shouldn't use should". They rather say things like "If you think in terms of should it makes you suffer. While I'm okay with you suffering, using a different frame would allow you to suffer less".

The cultural gap between the two is very large and about more then words that can be tabooed.  

On reflection do you think the quoted statement is actually doing exactly the thing you're saying not to do?

In no way am I saying this is "fair" or anything, but feels worth noting: As someone who frequently has highly averse reactions to attempts to use or suggest NVC, and mostly thinks that the name should remove the N, I will note that my system 1 takes the quoted sentence and interprets it is as "You shouldn't use should, also f*** you and I'm an asshole who is pretending not to use should." 

And on reflection this gets endorsed rather than dissolved. The statement protests way too much and is totally in the frame of someone who wants to be very clear that they totally, totally don't think in should terms but wants you to know that you really shouldn't be thinking in should terms. 

When challenging myself to come up with a version of that sentence that doesn't get that reaction, and tries to convey the actually useful thing that I'm thinking is motivating the statement, I get maybe something like:

"The concept of 'should' is overloaded and confusing, and leads to blame assignments that wouldn't be endorsed if considered using more careful words. This is making communication harder, and going around blaming people in these ways causes you to suffer." 

I notice I removed the part where you say you're OK with the other person suffering, because every time I try to add that into this context it comes off really badly, and also why is that statement being helpful here?

I will note that my system 1 takes the quoted sentence and interprets it is as "You shouldn't use should, also f*** you and I'm an asshole who is pretending not to use should." 

I think a large part of the reason you react this way is that a good portion of the exposure you have with people who attempt to use NVC is with people who just taboo should while not really change their underlying worldview. 

I notice I removed the part where you say you're OK with the other person suffering, because every time I try to add that into this context it comes off really badly, and also why is that statement being helpful here?

There's frequently a tradeoff between giving another person freedom and taking action to make their suffering go away. 

It's general medical ethics not to force a person who makes a decision against taking painkillers to take painkillers. A doctor has the responsibility to offer the choice of the painkillers and provide information but if the person rather wants to suffer then taking the painkiller, from the perspective of the doctor that's ok.

Personal development frameworks that follow that ethical framework are less obnixious then those who think that the fact that a practioner found a way to make himself suffer less gives them an obligation to get others to do the same thing and also suffer less. 

(Point of order, this probably makes more sense as a comment rather than an answer.)

Nobody, who really operates from a should-less-frame says "we shouldn't use should". They rather say things like "If you think in terms of should it makes you suffer. While I'm okay with you suffering, using a different frame would allow you to suffer less".

I agree with this. I also think that once one learns to think in that new mode, bringing back "should" as a shorthand doesn't necessarily cause any problems. As someone who doesn't currently avoid "should", I am OK with writing things such as "the claim that you should taboo 'should'" as a shorthand for a claim that there are benefits from doing so -- despite the irony.

I think there's a danger when you see the relationship of nonviolent communication as one about tabooing should. People who just exchange their vocabulary for NVC words without changing their intended meaning don't get very far and generally give NVC a bad name.

I only meant to say (and only said) that the claim was associated with NVC. But I agree that there's a danger of overly substituting the ideas of NVC with the ideas about substituting words.

On the other hand, using specific words as "danger signs" that you might be making associated conceptual mistakes seems quite useful.

(Point of order, this probably makes more sense as a comment rather than an answer.)

I moved it. 

What's the corresponding thing you would say about "to be"?

Combined answer to both your comments

Many of the problems of "to be" are about consciousness of abstraction. If you actually know what you mean because you tabooed the word and are forced to explain what you mean that helps with the problems of "to be".

On the other level should is about obligations. The intention of not using the word should in NVC is not just being conscious about when you say that there's an obligation but about not using obligations. 

I also think that once one learns to think in that new mode, bringing back "should" as a shorthand doesn't necessarily cause any problems.

Coming from Protestent ethics the idea that one has an obligation to do things that are benefitial if there's no cost to doing them is very strong in Western culture. If you are telling a friend that there was a $100 bill laying on the street and you didn't pick it up because you didn't want to, you are likely being faced with strong negative judgement often paired with feeling guilty about not taking the slam-dunk option. 

Further down I believe that even if one generally doesn't do things because of feeling obligations it's still useful to have a word for things that are obligations. 

Being able to make a promise to another person and feeling bound by an obligation that the promise creates might still be valuable even for a person that takes most of their actions for reasons for reasons that are not driven by obligations. 

This reminds me of a talk where a person said that for some people with terminal illnesses actually must do certain things. If the don't they literally die. 

I think that in many cases where you are tabooing to be and end up with being conscious that you mean identity that's not problematic. It's okay to think of the thing on which you are sitting as having the identity of being a chair.

To elaborate: when I do try to avoid "to be", I find myself making simple substitutions which feel like cheating.

For example, rather than "that is a problem", I might say "that creates a problem", or "constitutes a problem".

This constitutes a problem is simply a more explicit way to speak about identity. If your goal is to be more explicit it's helpful.

A more substantial replacement might be "we should fix this" (or I value us fixing this if you wanted to express it in NVC)

It is worth noting that a phrase like "it is worth noting" uses the word is but doesn't speak about identity. English using is both for X has property Y and for X is_a Y makes it hard to target tell a computer (without GPT3) that you just care about it reminding you when you use the is of identity.