Grammer Question

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
Doesthisnovelmakemyasslookbig
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Re: Grammer Question

Postby Doesthisnovelmakemyasslookbig » Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

The simplest answer is to replace your passive verb with a stronger one word verb. It may require moving some words around, but that's rarely a bad thing.

Before: Either the team members or the captain is/are going to have to make a critical decision
After: A critical decision falls to the team members or captain.
Or: The team members or the captain face a critical decision.

Before: Two thirds of the students was/were against the hike in tuition fees.
After: Two-thirds of the students opposed tuition fee hikes.

Good luck, hope that helps!

jaus tail
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Re: Grammer Question

Postby jaus tail » Thu May 30, 2013 3:32 am

thanks...the use of another verb instead of are/is/were/was/have/has does strengthen the sentence.
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MatthewTM
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Re: Grammer Question

Postby MatthewTM » Thu May 30, 2013 6:50 am

Being technical, I don't see that the use of was/were is passive in those situations. 'A critical decision falls to the team members or captain.' is passive, as the 'doer' isn't the subject of the sentence.

But - perfect illustation on how a well-chosen verb can really tighten up a sentence. Much more elegant (and welcome to the board :D ).

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mammamaia
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Re: Grammer Question

Postby mammamaia » Thu May 30, 2013 10:36 am

i was going to make the same point about 'passive'... thanks for saving me the trouble, matt!
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