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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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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Dialogue: Tips for Creating Realistic and Engaging Conversations

Dialogue preparation

Achieving realistic dialogue in fictional and narrative writing can be a bit of a challenge. Great dialogue provides your writing with essential qualities, like plot progression and suspense, developing a character by designating voice, or setting the emotion of a chapter. Getting that intensity can be as simple as asking yourself a few questions:

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What is a Coach Conference?

One of the most integral steps of our writing process is the coach conference. With every essay, students complete at least one coach conference, and the feedback they get is invaluable. But, what exactly goes into this conference? What kind of information do students get? How does each conference help students improve? Here is a close look at what the process is all about.

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Scholastic Writing Contest – Writer Spotlight (Part 2)

Each year, Write from the Heart students enter a contest: The Scholastic Writing Contest. This isn’t your average contest, though; the stakes are high In fact, there are over 300,000 entries from across the U.S. every year. And, of those entries, only the top 10% receive some kind of recognition. Our students consistently place among these amazing writers, joining the ranks of previous Scholastic winners, like Joyce Carol Oates, Sylvia Plath, and Truman Capote.

This year was no exception! In fact, Write from the Heart had more winners in the 2017 contest than ever before! 18 of our students received a total of 21 awards among them.

Scholastic Art and Writing Contest Logo

Scholastic Silver Key Winners

Those earning a Silver Key earned something like a 2nd place award, meaning they were in the top 5% of the entries. Continue reading “Scholastic Writing Contest – Writer Spotlight (Part 2)”

Compound Sentences

And Their Arch Nemesis, the Comma Splice

Have you ever had such a great idea that you just couldn’t stop raving about it? The words come pouring out of your mouth, with your voice barely able to keep up with your brain. The excitement bubbles up, and you couldn’t stop the verbal outpour even if you wanted to. Yeah, that’s a good feeling. That’s kind of how compound sentences work. You’ve got this one sentence that’s so great, and you know what would make it even better? Yes! A second sentence!

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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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