Owl Editing

Owl Editing

Tips for writers

owled

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The Active Voice

The active voice is direct and vigorous. In grammar, passive describes a sentence in which something sits and waits for something to happen to it. With passive sentences, you sound like someone who sits and waits for things to happen.

    PASSIVE: The ball was kicked by John.
    ACTIVE: John kicked the ball.

 

Proper use of articles

The root word of “the” is “this” or “that” (definite article).
The root word of “a/an” is “any” (indefinite article).

This table shows how the articles should be used with nouns:

 
SINGULAR NOUN
PLURAL NOUN
DEFINITE ARTICLE
the
the
INDEFINITE ARTICLE
a/an
-

A common error in writing: nominalization

Nominalization is changing a verb into a noun. When you change a verb to a noun, you take the strength away from the sentence. For example, “to conclude” is a specific act but if you are “reaching a conclusion” you’ve eliminated the specific action and replaced it with an all-purpose verb. Instead of “concluding,” the action becomes “reaching.” LOOK FOR such words as: recognition, assumption, formation, protection, realization, destruction, decision, examination and correct the error by changing the word back to a verb that is assigned to a subject.

INSTEAD OF: We reached the conclusion that…
USE: We concluded that…
INSTEAD OF: I am working on the assumption that…
USE: I assume that…

 

 

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