Everything English

Writing and Grammar Tips (beta)

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Trading Nouns for Verbs

One of the hallmarks of good writing is the use of strong, active verbs. Sadly, a lot of American academic English gets caught up in using long, cumbersome chains of  nouns rather than fluid, precise verbs. If you are interested in improving your writing stylistically, try out the following method: trade your nouns for verbs. […]

The Ambiguous “This”

One very useful feature of the English language is that you can refer to extremely complex ideas with a simple four-letter word: “this.” In academic writing especially, “this” is a handy word because it allows you to create a shorthand version of what might otherwise take you five, ten, or twenty (or, heaven forbid, even […]

Active versus Passive Voice

Your English instructor has just assigned a writing project to the class and admonishes everyone to “use active voice in your writing.” You go to your next class, i.e., your microbiology class, and your instructor emphatically states that “you must use passive voice when writing laboratory reports.” So, what is active voice and passive voice? […]