Show and Tell for Parents
Search Site: 
Parents Teachers
By Susan Darst Williams
Parental Involvement
Ages & Stages
Coaching Your Child
Discipline & Safety
Health, Nutrition & Fitness
Homework Helpers
Reading
Writing
Math
Curriculum & Instruction
Teachers & Teaching
Other School Staff
Testing
Technology
Special Learners
School Management
Finance & Taxation
Government & Politics
Preschool
Private Schools
Homeschooling
Choice & Charters
Learning on the Go
Community Involvement
Controversies
Education Heroes
Bright Ideas for Change
Site Map
Mini-Grants

Parental Involvement Lite

Parents, Kids & Books

Great Books for Kids

Character Education

Writing Tips

Inspiration

Wacky Protests

School Humor
Home | Purpose | Ask A Question | Subscribe | Forward | Bio | Contact | Print

Grammar Granny        < Previous        Next >

 

Use Active Voice, Not Passive

 

Are your ideas weak? Are you a wussie? Do you lack confidence and energy, and therefore nobody should pay any attention to you?

 

No? Well, then, why do you write that way?

 

A common writing error is to write in a passive voice, rather than an active one. Passive writing is indirect, ambiguous and wordy, while active writing is vigorous, bold and concise.

 

Which is better:

 

"There is a whole lot of snow covering the ground" or "Snow blanketed the ground."

 

"He liked the painting which was done by me" or "He liked my painting."

 

"The whistle of a train could be heard by us" or "We heard a train whistle."

 

See how the active phrases - the second ones - are more direct, shorter and clearer?

 

Cure yourself of the habit of starting sentences with "There is" or "There are." That's a red flag of wordiness and passivity. Avoid the verb forms of "is" because they're just too passive and bland. Also watch out for expressions with the word "by," as in "It was left by me" instead of "I left it."

 

Last, watch yourself for wordiness; learn to cut to the chase. "The next thing we knew, our mistake became apparent, and the reason was, we had not done what we should have done." Instead, write: "We goofed."

 

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.GoBigEd.com Grammar Granny 016 2006

 

Grammar Granny        < Previous        Next >
^ return to top ^
Individuals: read and share these features freely!

Publications: please contact ShowandTellforParents.com to arrange for reprint rights to these copyrighted news stories and features.

Mini-Grants


 Links to Learn More 

 Enrichment Ideas 

 Nebraska Schooling 
DailySusan
 Humor Blog 
DailySusan
 Glimpses of God 
Copyright © 2017 ShowandTellforParents.com
Website created by Web Solutions Omaha