Style: The Easy Reader

Great writing can be simply defined as taking complex ideas and presenting them in an easy to understand language. To develop this language, you need a fundamental understanding of Style! Style makes writing readable! In this brief course, you will learn about Actors and Actions, Passive Voice, and The Power of Verbs!

Actors and Actions

You may have heard the words "Subject" and "Predicate" before. But, did you know that Subjects are always nouns and predicates always contain a verb?

For practicing effective style, you should think about the "Subject" as an "Actor" and the "Predicate" as containing the "Action!"

Which of the following sentences has no actor in the subject?

  • There is no one at home!
  • Marlowe's tail was pulled.
  • Steven is our lead designer.
  • There is a problem with the computer.

Passive Voice

Passive Voice sometimes leaves the reader asking "Who did the action?"

Passive voice may tell us who did the action, but the "Actor" is not in the "Subject" of the sentence! We can often see this when the word "by" appears.

Passive Voice is created by a combination of a "to be verb + a past participle"

An example of Passive Voice: "The ball was thrown through the window"

Passive Voice

The passive voice in the sentence above leaves the reader asking, "Who threw the ball?" The passive construction in this sentence (the "to be verb + the past participle") is "was thrown."

Which is an example of Passive Voice?

  • I was thinking of taking a class in Technical Communication.
  • She is going to see a movie this evening.
  • I was taken by a friend to a production of Hamlet.
  • I found a new pet and named it Scallywag.