Wednesday, September 1, 2010

4-6 of the Top 10 Techniques For Writing Like a Pro

Here's 4-6 of Barbara McNichol's 10 Top Techniques For Writing Like a Pro.

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#4. Ignite Sentences with Active Verbs

Ignite your sentences by using active verbs like achieve, adopt, align, boost, bridge, capture, clarify, connect, create, define, design, ensure, find, focus, gain, grasp, ignite, improve, inspire, learn, master, overcome, persuade, prevent, realize, reduce, scan, sharpen, simplify, stretch, unleash.

A pet peeve: using the word “utilize” when its modest synonym “use” works just fine.
Active verbs overcome passive sentence construction. Active construction occurs when someone does something to someone else; passive is when an action is being done to someone.

Which of these sentences is more effective?
Passive—“The piano was played by the student.”
Active—“The student played the piano with grace and dexterity.”

#5. Get Them to Agree

When you put a singular subject with the plural form of the verb, you weaken your writing, confuse your reader, and make grammarians groan. E.g., “A group of golfers were in town.” The subject of the sentence “group” is singular while the verb “were” belongs with a plural subject. Instead, write this: “A group of golfers was in town” or “Several golfers were in town.” Better yet, liven up the sentence with an active verb: “A group of golfers landed in town eager to play.”

#6. Nix Mixed Modifiers (aka Dangling Participles)

Check out this sentence: “When thinking about a good place to eat, many choices are available.” Are the “many choices” doing the thinking? I don't think so!

This mixed modifier (aka dangling participle) gets in the way of crisp, intentional writing. Correct version: “When thinking about a good place to eat, the host had many choices.” Now who’s doing the thinking? The host.

Join me tomorrow for additional tips from Barbara McNichol.

Here's to more effective writing.

Sandra-Caregiver Guru
P.S. Join me Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at the Air Conference Centre in Phoenix, AZ for The Sacred Journey of Caregiving-A Transformational Approach to Life. Register at

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