Simplify your writing to make it more effective. Theresa Bell Writing Centre Coordinator Royal Roads University. Think before you write. Consider : Who is your audience? What language would your audience use? What do you want your audience to understand?
Writing Centre Coordinator
Royal Roads University
Locate the subject and verb of a sentence at the beginning of the sentence.
General guide for sentence length: 25 words
Your goal is to communicate, not confuse.
Adjective = a word that describes a noun
Adverb = a word that describes a verb
“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them – then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice” (Mark Twain).
Qualifier: “a word (such as an adjective or adverb) or phrase that describes another word or group of words”.E.g., very, actually, really, quite, basically, probably, definitely, somewhat, kind of, extremely, practically.
Redundant pairs: full and complete, each and every, hopes and dreams, whole entire, first and foremost, true and accurate, always and forever.
Vague pronoun = using “it”, “this”, “that”, or other pronouns to refer to a previously-mentioned noun
Active sentence: the subject comes first
Passive sentence: the object (the thing that is receiving the action) comes first; the subject appears at the end of the sentence or isn’t included at all.
Detecting passive voice: check the primary verb, and if there’s a form of “be” (am, is, are, was, were) and a past tense verb (many end with -ed), the sentence may be passive.
Why is passive voice a problem?
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