004_RFW6e_Clarity_(pages_80-145)

004_RFW6e_Clarity_(pages_80-145) - 079-146_63657_Part...

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Clarity 8. Active verbs 80 9. Parallel ideas 84 10. Needed words 88 11. Mixed constructions 92 12. Misplaced and dangling modifers 96 13. ShiFts 104 14. Emphasis 109 15. Variety 120 16. Wordy sentences 123 17. Appropriate language 128 18. Exact words 138
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8 Prefer active verbs. As a rule, choose an active verb and pair it with a subject that names the person or thing doing the action. Active verbs ex- press meaning more emphatically and vigorously than their weaker counterparts—forms of the verb be or verbs in the pas- sive voice. Verbs in the passive voice lack strength because their subjects receive the action instead of doing it. Forms of the verb be ( be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been ) lack vigor be- cause they convey no action. Although passive verbs and the forms of be have legitimate uses, if an active verb can carry your meaning, use it. PASSIVE The pumps were destroyed by a surge of power. BE VERB A surge of power was responsible for the destruction of the pumps. ACTIVE A surge of power destroyed the pumps. Even among active verbs, some are more active—and therefore more vigorous and colorful—than others. Carefully selected verbs can energize a piece of writing. ^ swept ^ hooked © The goalie crouched low, out his stick, and the rebound away from the mouth of the net. sent reached 80 Clarity vb 8 GRAMMAR CHECKERS are fairly good at ±agging passive verbs, such as is used. However, because passive verbs are sometimes appropriate, you—not the computer program—must decide whether to change a verb from passive to active. Grammar checkers tend to suggest revisions only when the passive sen- tence contains a by phrase ( Carbon dating is used by scientists to determine an object’s approximate age ). Occasionally they make inappropriate suggestions for revision ( Scientists to deter- mine an object’s approximate age use carbon dating ). Only you can determine the most sensible word order for your sentence.
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8a Use the active voice unless you have a good reason for choosing the passive. In the active voice, the subject does the action; in the passive voice, the subject receives the action (see also 63c). Although both voices are grammatically correct, the active voice is usually more effective because it is simpler and more direct. ACTIVE Hernando caught the fly ball. PASSIVE The fly ball was caught by Hernando. In passive sentences, the actor (in this case Hernando) fre- quently disappears from the sentence: The fly ball was caught. In most cases, you will want to emphasize the actor, so you should use the active voice. To replace a passive verb with an active alternative, make the actor the subject of the sentence. ^ A bolt of lightning struck the transformer. ± The transformer was struck by a bolt of lightning. The active verb ( struck ) makes the point more forcefully than the passive verb ( was struck ).
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This note was uploaded on 11/15/2011 for the course LEGAL PA101 taught by Professor Pamelabasmajian during the Winter '11 term at Kaplan University.

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004_RFW6e_Clarity_(pages_80-145) - 079-146_63657_Part...

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