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  1. #1
    Laura McCarthy
    Guest

    Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    How to break from it.

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How can I think actively?



  2. #2
    Sail Away
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    How can I think actively?

    Read. A lot. If you are reading one book a week, start reading two. Read everything and pay attention to passive constructions. When you think you have read enough, read some more.

    Good luck,
    -SA

  3. #3
    Laura McCarthy
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    I read like 4 books a week. My problem is I'm NOT seeing the passiveness.

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    Have your word processor flag instances of "was" or "were" or other "to be" verbs and see if you can rephrase those.

  5. #5
    Sail Away
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    I read like 4 books a week. My problem is I'm NOT seeing the passiveness.

    No, your problem is thinking passively. The more you read active writing, the more natural it will become to write it.

    If you are seeing the passiveness, it should not be a problem to go back and change it.

    So start reading 6 books a week.

    -SA

  6. #6
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    Laura,

    Start by fixing the passive sentences during revisions. Do what Rogue suggests but do it after you've written the draft. Flag the "to be" verb constructions. (If you Google, I'm sure you'll find a definitive list.)

    Then go back and look for more active verb substitutions. A thesaurus might come in handy at this point if your vocabulary is limited. After you do this for a while, your thinking process will change, and you'll recognize the weak verbs before you use them.

    It just takes practice.

    A quick example for you:

    Jake was walking quickly across the parking lot.

    Some substitutes for the "to be" verb form:

    raced, ran, jogged, sprinted, dashed, darted, scurried, hotfooted it, fled, bolted, hurried

    Notice how all of the substitutes eliminate the need for the adverb? The goal is to find the precise verb that meets your needs; don't guess or try to come close.

    Good luck. Hope that helps.

    Jeanne

  7. #7
    Laura McCarthy
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    Thanks for all your help!

    Read 6 books, my hubby will never forgive me for giving up everything and just reading

    Jeanne, you're advice is pitch perfect. THANK YOU!

  8. #8
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    We've been all over this before, Rogue. There is no, single, magic bullet that will kill all of the nasty passive sentences in your MS and leave the active ones alone. Neither "was" nor "were" signal a passive sentence.

    As an example, which of these two sentences is passive, and why?

    John was out in the hall reading the latest notice.

    The contract will be sent to the client tomorrow by messenger.

  9. #9
    Laura McCarthy
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    First one is passive!

    I don't know why

    Do I pass?

  10. #10
    Sail Away
    Guest

    Re: Queen of the Passive Sentences and....

    First one is passive!

    I don't know why

    Do I pass?


    Nope.

    First one is active. Second one is passive.

    "John" is the subject and he is doing the action (reading)

    "The contract" is the subject the action (being sent) is being done to it, or it receives the action.

    Maybe this site will help...

    <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_actpass.html>

    -SA

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