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Writing Tips. To make your paper oh, so good. Passive and Active Voice. Sentences are much stronger when the subject is doing the action. Often times, we write so the object receives the action. Here’s what I mean: The ducks were discussed by Holden in chapter 12.

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writing tips

Writing Tips

To make your paper oh, so good.

passive and active voice
Passive and Active Voice
  • Sentences are much stronger when the subject is doingthe action. Often times, we write so the object receives the action. Here’s what I mean:
  • The ducks were discussed by Holden in chapter 12.
  • Doesn’t this sound better: Holden discusses the ducks in chapter 12.
passive to active
Passive to Active
  • Let’s make these next sentences active.
  • The letter was mailed by Timothy.
  • The cookies were eaten by Cookie Monster.
  • At the concert, the song was played brilliantly by the cellist.
  • When is it ok to use passive voice?
parallel structure
Parallel Structure
  • Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance.
  • The usual way to join parallel structures is with the use of coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS)
parallel structure1
Parallel Structure
  • Let’s fix these sentences to be parallel:
  • Tom likes to swim, to bike, and walking.
  • The student did his homework quickly, efficiently, and accurate.
  • The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and to do some warm-up exercises before the game.
subject verb agreement
Subject-Verb Agreement

1. Compound Subjects: When the subject of a sentence is composed of two or more nouns or pronouns connected by and, use a plural verb.

      Ex.  She and her friends ARE at the carnival. 

      Horatio and Marcus _______ going to student council after school. 

2. In sentences beginning with there is or there are, the subject follows the verb. Since there is not the subject, the verb agrees with what follows. 

      Ex.  There ARE many questions. 

                        There ______ a question. 

3. Compound Subjects: When a compound subject contains both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer the verb. 

                        Ex. The boy or his friends RUN every day. 

                        His friends or the boy _______ every day. 

subject verb agreement1
Subject Verb Agreement

4. Do not be misled by a phrase that comes between the subject and the verb. The verb agrees with the subject, not with a noun or pronoun in the phrase. 

                        Ex. One of the boxes IS open. 

The people who listen to that music ________ few. 

5. Indefinite Pronouns as Subjects: The words each, each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody, anyone, nobody, somebody, someone, and no one are singular and require a singular verb. 

                        Ex. Each of these jelly beans IS tasty.  

Either _______ correct. 

6. Confusing Subjects: Collective nouns are words that imply more than one person but that are considered singular and take a singular verb, such as: group, team, committee, class, and family. 

                        Ex. The familyHAS a long history. 

My family _______ never been able to agree.

subject verb agreement2
Subject Verb Agreement
  • Ballet dancers (train / trains) for many years.
  • Most of the famous speeches (sound / sounds) fresh and new.
  • Janelle or her sister (is / are) going to be responsible for this.
  • Our team (have / has) the best record in the league.
  • Neither of my two suitcases (is / are) good enough for the trip.
  • When writing a paper, try and stay in the present tense. It is very easy to move to the past tense when discussing a book.
  • Not so good – Holden wanted to be the catcher in the rye.
  • Good – Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye.
  • As Holden walked through New York City, he thought about Jane Gallagher.
  • In chapter 25, Holden will go crazy.
  • Phoebe told Holden that he didn’t like anything.
  • Holden talked to Carl Luce about sex.
words to avoid
Words to Avoid
  • Really
  • Very
  • Definitely (and defiantly)
  • It
  • First, second, third, in conclusion, all in all
  • Lots / a lot
  • Many
  • Things / Something / Anything
  • Shows
  • Paper/ Essay / Quote
  • I think / I feel / I believe / In my opinion