Monthly Archives: December 2016
Some tips I wish knew before when writing
Who or Whom
The word who is used when the pronoun is the subject completing the action, and the word whom is used when the pronoun is a direct object receiving action.
The teacher is a knowledgeable instructor who truly cares about her students
In this case, the teacher is performing the action: she truly cares about her students.
Carol was not sure to whom she was speaking.
Here, Carol performed the action of speaking. The person to whom she spoke was the recipient of her action.
Dependent and independent clauses are important in understanding how and when to use commas and semicolons.
A comma can be used to join a dependent clause with an independent clause:
Even though it was cold outside, we went camping anyway.
A comma can join two independent clauses, if followed by coordinating conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so or FANBOYS.
A crowd gathered outside the building, and the protestors began to seem restless.
Semicolons join two independent clauses without conjunctions though transitional words like however, nevertheless, and therefore.
The evidence against the defendant was strong; nevertheless, the defendant was acquitted.
Active vs. Passive Voices
Active verbs are those that express action directly. When you use an active verb, the sentence typically shows the agent performing the action:
Raquel purchased the clock
Raquel is the agent performing the action, purchased is the verb indicating the action and the clocks the object acted upon. Active voice sentences tend to contain sentence components in this order:
Agent + action + object
Because active sentences often show the agent and the action directly, they tend to be straightforward in meaning and easily understood.
Passive voice sentences emphasizes the object that received the action:
The clock was purchased by Raquel.
Typically components are in this order:
Object + action + agent
Some passive sentences may not even include the agent of action at all:
The clock was purchased this morning.
In this sentence, it’s not clear who purchased the clock. Because passive sentences tend to deemphasize the agent of the action, they can see more obscure in meaning than active sentences. Passive sentences can even be used on purpose to obscure meaning:
A decision was made to terminate your emp0loyment.
Passive verbs are also used to convey meaning with constructions such as it is or it was:
It is anticipated that the ceremony will last for hours.
To identify passive sentences, look for helping verbs such as the “be” verbs is, are, we, were, and will be. Sentences in the passive voice contain helping verbs.
The tree will be cut down next summer.