This specifically refers to the use of active and passive voice. In brief, this tip means use either the active or the passive voice in a sentence, not both. Consider this sentence.
“I wrote the weekly project status report, but it wasn’t delivered on time.”
This sentence begins in the active voice but concludes in the passive voice. By using only one voice, the sentence will be more direct and more effective for accomplishing your purpose. Two possible revisions are as follows.
“I wrote the weekly project status report, but I didn’t deliver it on time.” (active)
“The weekly project status report was written but not delivered on time.” (passive)
Determine which voice will best accomplish your purpose and use it for the entire sentence.
This is the strategy for day 140 in 300 Days of Better Writing, available at Hostile Editing in PDF, Kindle, and paperback formats.
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Based on many previous tips, you know that using the Subject–Verb–Object sentence structure helps you write clearly. However, you don’t want all your sentences to “feel” the same to the reader. Readers need variety, or they will quickly become disinterested in your content.
One of the simplest ways to vary the sentence structure is by moving adverbial phrases. Where you move the phrases depends on your style. However, many can be moved to the beginning of the sentence, which also may help you keep the S–V–O structure intact. Consider this sentence:
“He walked in the afternoon to the store.”
The adverbial phrase is “in the afternoon.” This phrase describes when he walked. We can move this phrase as follows:
“In the afternoon, he walked to the store.”
This sentence now has a different sentence structure. It also keeps the S–V–O sentence structure intact and focuses on the main point.
This is the strategy for day 176 in 300 Days of Better Writing, available at Hostile Editing in PDF, Kindle, and paperback formats.
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