Grammar Help: Active and Passive Voice

What does it mean to be active? Often, when people think of “active,” they imagine themselves doing some sort of physical activity, like exercise. Perhaps you think of someone dancing, running, or even doing chores around the house. In writing, an active voice has a similar meaning as well. A sentence that uses active voice is one where the subject is the one performing the action, or the verb. In contrast, passive voice works the opposite way, with the subject being acted on by the verb. To write effectively, you should avoid passive voice because it takes away from your overall clarity of ideas. Instead, use active voice to ensure that your ideas are written in the most concise way.

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Hyperbole: Exaggeration At Its Best

You must’ve used hyperbole a million times in your life. Your mom asked you 1,000 times not to leave your shoes out. Maybe your teacher even gave you a mountain of homework to finish tonight. Notice the pattern here? Everything is so exaggerated. That’s what hyperbole is! Hyperbole is a type of figurative language in which the writer exaggerates in order to emphasize an idea or create humor. Continue reading “Hyperbole: Exaggeration At Its Best”

Expository Essays: Writing Topics to Jump Start Your Essay

An expository essay has one goal: to inform the reader. However, this doesn’t mean using a boring voice or tone to create your essay. Expository essays can be a great opportunity for vivid imagery, sensory details, and an engaging tone. But, before you can get started, you need to choose a topic. This topic will be the seed for your essay, and all the ideas and details will grow from it. Be sure to choose wisely! The key is to select a topic interests you. If you’re interested in what you have to say, your writing will reflect that. And, in turn, your writing will become more interesting to the reader.

Here are a few topics to help jump start your essay.

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Parallel Structure: Organizing Sentences and Essays

Good writing is clear. It’s focused, it offers insight into a meaningful topic, and it has strong organization. But, how do you organize an essay? One of the most effective tools you can use to ensure organization is to use parallel structure. This isn’t just one single tool, though. We can apply to a wide variety of writing situations, from single sentences to entire essays.

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Personification: Bringing a Human Spark to Your Writing

As a student, you’ll come across many fresh writing tools that can help your writing have a more natural feel. Some of these, you may already use without knowing what they are. For example, hyperbole is a method of expressing a fact or idea in an inflated way. We use hyperbole when we say things like “I’ve been walking all day,” when really, you only walked for about forty-five minutes.

Personification is also a writing tool, one that many authors use to share a more vivid image or emotion with their audience. Personification can also give your writing a little more pizzazz than it would with plain, gray descriptions.

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Brainstorming: Getting the Ideas from Mind to Material

brainstorming ; coming up with ideasBrainstorming is like looking for seashells on a beach. At first, you wander around and search, grabbing just about anything that catches your eye. Then, once your bucket is full, you sort through them, only taking the best ones home with you. In the same way, brainstorming lets you get a lot of ideas onto a page without much judgment or close inspection. Then, when you feel like you have enough or you can’t come up with anything else, you look back through what you’ve created, choosing the best ideas to include in your writing.

It’s a personal process, though. Everyone’s brainstorming process is as unique as they are. However, no matter what kind of writer or thinker you are, there are still a few general strategies to choose from to help you get those ideas out on paper.

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30 Journal Prompts to Inspire You

Why should you journal?

All writers get stuck behind the proverbial wall called “writer’s block.” Sometimes, we just don’t know what to write! But, the key to breaking down that wall isn’t to find the perfect thing to write about; it’s just a matter of getting words on the page. And journal prompts are a fantastic way to get started.

The next time you feel like you just don’t know what to say, choose a prompt and get to work! Forget about grammar, punctuation, and structure. Just write what you know and write what you feel. That wall is sure to come crumbling down.

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