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January 30, 2007

Passive vs. Active Verbs

There are two main classifications for verbs:

1) Active – Express Meaning/ Action clearly
· Subject performs or does something a action
· Usually more effective and direct
· Easily comprehendible
· Orders are usually active verbs
2) Passive- Weaker semantically,
· Subject receives action
· Directly conveys no action
· Common examples are: Be, Am, Is, Are Was Being, Been (These words are not always passive but tend to be most of the time because they do not convey a direct action)
· Passive verbs should be used when the subject/doer is unwanted or unnecessary or when the writer wishes to emphasize the action, Or for greater sentence variation.

EXAMPLES:
Michael taught the class. (ACTIVE)
The class was taught by Michael. (PASSIVE)

A “State of Being? (also called linking verbs) is neither active nor passive.
EXAMPLE: Jenny is late. I am Hungry. This could be the first day of the rest of my life.

This is not the case in most languages around the world!


THE PASSIVE ACTIVE GAME!

1) The turkey must have been eaten by the dog.

ANSWER: The dog must have eaten the turkey.

2) The grammar test was passed by over half the students.

ANSWER: Over half the students passed the grammar test.

3) When the Declaration of Independence was being signed, our forefathers were exercising their spirit of resistance.

ANSWER: When the Declaration of Independence was signed, our forefathers were exercising their spirit of resistance.

4) Hurricane Katrina destroyed many homes.

ANSWER: Many homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

5) Yesterday the fish were caught by me.

ANSWER: I caught the fish yesterday.

Parallel Ideas

Parallel Ideas

Parallel ideas are a way of emphasizing two or more similar ideas by using the same pattern of words (nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs and etc.).

Not Parallel: Jill likes running, walking and to hop.
Parallel: Jill likes running, walking and hopping.
(Now all the words end with –ing and have the same pattern)

Not Parallel: During the movie they were laughing, they were smiling, and crying.
Parallel: During the movie they were laughing, they were smiling, and they were crying.
Or
During the movie they were laughing, smiling and crying.

Parallel: We must not be defeated. We will not be defeated. We will triumph again.

Not Parallel: The soccer player moved swiftly, quickly, and in a smart way.
Parallel: The soccer player moved swiftly, quickly, and smartly.

Not Parallel: The child not only ate his vegetables but also his fruits.
Parallel: The child ate not only his vegetable but also his fruits.
(Now, we combined a noun with a noun versus when it was a clause with a noun)

If you use parallel ideas incorrectly, it can cause confusion and disrupts the flow of the sentence. However, parallel ideas, when used correctly in your statement, can add emphasis and clarity.

Here are some examples when people use parallel ideas to add power to their statements.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. –Martin Luther King Jr.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
-John F. Kennedy
Proofreading Strategies to try:
· Skim your paper, pausing at the words "and" and "or." Check on each side of these words to see whether the items joined are parallel. If not, make them parallel.
· If you have several items in a list, put them in a column to see if they are parallel.
Listen to the sound of the items in a list or the items being compared. Do you hear the same kinds of sounds? For example, is there a series of "-ing" words beginning each item? Or do your hear a rhythm being repeated? If something is breaking that rhythm or repetition of sound, check to see if it needs to be made parallel.