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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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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State of Being Verbs: To be Used or to be Avoided?

You might be asking yourself what “to be” verbs really are. There is a simple explanation. It is a group of verbs that are commonly used in all kinds of writing. You may have been using them without knowing it. You may be reading them right now as you are wondering why this paragraph seems so choppy.

We’re talking state of being (is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been). That’s what we call those “to be” verbs.

Overusing state of being verbs can give your writing some stubborn setbacks, like false impressions, vague generalizations, and confusing subjects. Here’s how to spot them, find the right substitution, and write with more illustration.

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Are Adverbs Weakening Your Writing?

An adverb is a describing word. However, unlike an adjective (they modify nouns), adverbs modify verbs and adjectives. Sometimes, adverbs get a bad reputation, though. Sometimes, they can bog down your writing, making your reader feel like they have to trudge through each sentence, dragging themselves every step. Other times, though, adverbs can offer emphasis or clarity, which is an awesome tool to have in your back pocket.

But, how can you tell if an adverb is helping or hurting? Here are a few ways you can tell.

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