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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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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Determining an Audience for your Essay

What is an Audience?

An audience is anyone who will read your essay. A target audience is the person or group of people you’d like to read your essay.

Why do I Need to Determine an Audience for my Essay?

You might think to yourself, “Only my parents will read this,” or “My teacher will be the only one who ever looks at this.” Why should you care about identifying an audience? Whether or not you’ve consciously thought about it, you’ve always been speaking and writing for a specific group of people.

Think about this: would you talk the same way in an interview as you would in a text message? Do you speak to your teachers differently from how you’d talk to your siblings? Are you going to speak differently when giving a public speech from just chatting with a neighbor? Chances are, the answer is “yes.” But, what’s the difference?

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Peer Interaction

The Missing Link in Online Education

You know what’s great about an online class?

The flexibility offered is next to none. There’s no specific time you’ve got to be in a classroom, and you won’t get in trouble for being tardy. Of course, there are due dates for some assignments, but let’s face it: with the sheer number of cute cat videos on YouTube, we need those deadlines to keep us on track.

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Exploded Moments in Writing

Tick, Tick, Tick… Boom!

You know what’s awesome about movies? Those moments where time slows down to a crawl. The music gets super intense, or there’s a ringing silence filling the air. The actors are moving in slow motion, and there’s usually some broken glass shattering or a bullet ripping through the scene, leaving ripples in its wake. It feels so cool to experience a moment in time where everything’s basically come to a halt.

It’s too bad we can’t do that with writing.

Or, can we?

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