Active Sentences

Charlie pointed out on deadline Thursday that i don’t use active sentences enough. He didn’t take me aside or anything. He had me come over and look at what he changed.

He said, when I “delay” my sentences with opening clauses, it slows the whole rhythm down. He added that it takes away from what I’m trying to say. I instantly picked up on what he was saying, but, to correct it, I don’t think I’ll be able to make that change immediately in my writing.

A favorite line I have for this blog is that everything is easier said then done.

I will have to consciously check each story that I write to change/modify those sentences. I make it a habit to write like that. I’ve done it for years. I can remember doing it in college, too. I’m not so sure it will be something that will take a month, but most likely much, much longer.

Active Voice:  When the verb is being performed by its subject.Passive Voice:  The action the sentence expresses is being performed upon by its subject.

I’ve found that editors value active  sentences because they:

  • Are much shorter. If you have a hard word count this makes your life and an editor’s life much easier, especially on deadline.
  • Are easier to understand. As a journalist, I don’t want to confuse my readers. The simpler the better.
  • Leave less wiggle room. We need to hold people responsible for their actions, no?

There are few times when the passive voice is needed, but I have yet to learn those times. I will over time.

I have to.

Jonathan

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