When you sit down to write make, sure that each sentence reflects what you mean. Use active verbs and write clear concise sentences that convey your ideas.
The subject comes first in an active sentence.
Police arrested a man recently freed on bail for allegedly beating and assaulting a woman in a Bay Ridge subway station.
Always look for an active verb to give your writing more energy.
Hurricane Ida slammed into Houmer, Lousiana.
Avoid the passive “to be” verbs: be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been.
Roads to Hamid Karzai International airport in Kabul are controlled by the Taliban.
The Taliban control the roads to Hamid Karzai International airport in Kabul.
You can use the passive verbs be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been when the subject of the action becomes the object.
Many Washington Heights residents are forced to move to other neighborhoods because landlords found tenants willing to pay higher rents.
We use the “to be” verbs to describe a state of being.
Dayan is a junior in college.
We use variations of the word have when we use it, like must, can or have.
Jorge has to try to rescue his relatives at the U.S. border in Texas.
We might also use a passive verb when we talk about ongoing action.
The student was reading a textbook when the alarm bell sounded and everyone had to leave the classroom.
Sure, you may think it sounds better to use flowery language and fussy words. But you end up sounding pretentious.
When the scions of the elderly gentleman thought he had a female paramour, they pondered about their fortunes if he were to suddenly become deceased.
Use language that says what you mean.
The children of the older man thought he had a girlfriend and worried about their inheritance if he died suddenly.
Catch phrases, Cliches and Euphemism
You may think you can make a sentence sound important if you use phrases or words that only suggest what you mean. But fussy sentences confuse readers, listeners and viewers.
economically deprived poor
youths teenagers, young men, young women, young people,
chemical dependency drug addiction
downsize lay off
adult entertainment pornography
inner city give the name of the neighborhood
You also want to avoid fussy words that connect ideas
Avoid the Negative
Write sentences that avoid the negative.
President Trump not only picked a fight with NFL players who choose to protest, he ignored the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
President Trump picked a fight with NFL players who chose to protest and ignored Puerto Rico’s hurricane victims.
Write out numbers one through nine.
Write number 10 and up as you would in math.
Write percent rather than %.
Full Names and Acronyms
When you write for print, TV or radio, you separate the full name of an organization and its acronym with the word or, or commas.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACCA.
When you write for the web you put the acronym in parentheses.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.