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5 Ways to Get Rid of Your Damn Empty Modifiers

5 Ways to Get Rid of Your Damn Empty Modifiers
I discussed the need to get rid of empty emphatics when I gave you 8 words to seek and destroy in your writing, but just saying that you should get rid of a thing doesn't say much about the right way to do so. Today I'm going to show you a few of my favorite ways to get rid of your empty modifiers. What exactly is an empty modifier? It's any word whose only role is to intensify the word it's modifying. The prime candidates here are "very" and "really," but "extremely," "intensely," "totally," "absolutely," "quite," and many other emphatic modifiers make the list. Further, many emphatics that shift meaning slightly or add some flavor (e.g., "just" or "damn") should be approached with skepticism, and it's easy to find flimsy "-ly" words that show us why the road to hell is paved with adverbs. I'm not saying that empty modifiers should never be used. 1. Sylvia was very crazy. This is the easiest and often the best solution. 2. Bob was really ugly hideous. 3. Shane was really tall. 4. 5. Related:  Academic Writing Sources & Support

Active Voice Versus Passive Voice Today's topic is active voice versus passive voice. Here's a question from Brian in Iowa. He writes, “It drives me crazy when people write in passive voice. How can I teach people how to tell the difference between passive and active voice and to stay away from passive voice?” Well, Brian is right, the first step is to help people understand the difference between active and passive voice, because many people believe they should avoid the passive voice, but fewer people can define it or recognize it. What Is Active Voice? I'll start with active voice because it's simpler. Another example is the title of the Marvin Gaye song “I Heard It through the Grapevine.” What Is Passive Voice? In passive voice, the target of the action gets promoted to the subject position. If you wanted to make the title of the Marvin Gaye song passive, you would say “It was heard by me through the grapevine,” not such a catchy title anymore. Next: Is "To Be" a Sign of Passive Voice? Is Passive Voice Always Wrong? 1.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do. Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Procrastination is an alluring siren taunting you to google the country where Balki from Perfect Strangers was from, and to arrange sticky notes on your dog in the shape of hilarious dog shorts. The blank white page. Mark Twain once said, “Show, don’t tell.” Finding a really good muse these days isn’t easy, so plan on going through quite a few before landing on a winner. There are two things more difficult than writing. It’s so easy to hide in your little bubble, typing your little words with your little fingers on your little laptop from the comfort of your tiny chair in your miniature little house.

25 Things You Should Know About Word Choice 1. A Series Of Word Choices Here’s why this matters: because both writing and storytelling comprise, at the most basic level, a series of word choices. Words are the building blocks of what we do. They are the atoms of our elements. They are the eggs in our omelets. 2. Words are like LEGO bricks: the more we add, the more we define the reality of our playset. 3. You know that game — “Oh, you’re cold, colder, colder — oh! 4. Think of it like a different game, perhaps: you’re trying to say as much as possible with as few words as you can muster. 5. Finding the perfect word is as likely as finding a downy-soft unicorn with a pearlescent horn riding a skateboard made from the bones of your many enemies. 6. For every right word, you have an infinity of wrong ones. 7. You might use a word that either oversteps or fails to meet the idea you hope to present. 8. Remember how I said earlier that words are like LEGO, blah blah blah help define reality yadda yadda poop noise? 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Free English Grammar Lessons and Tests Writing Empathetically vs. Sympathetically and Sentimentally Several weeks ago, I read a story that had a passage like this: "My parents never really cared about me," Allie said. "All my life they saw me as a disappointment, a waste of space. I was always the butt of their jokes. And it went on like this for about a paragraph or two. I could see that the writer wanted to foster sympathy for the character, wanted to explain how the character felt about her upbringing. But ultimately, it made her sound whiny--and I could tell that wasn't what the author intended. At first I was a little sympathetic to the character. . .then after several sentences, the writing just felt sentimental to me, meaning, I felt like the writer was trying to coax me to feel a certain way, like I was being controlled, rather than letting me feel for the situation myself. It's a good idea to want your readers to connect with your characters' hardships, but it can backfire if it's too sentimental or sometimes even when it's sympathetic. Remember,

Finding your voice - making your writing sound like YOU Finding your voice by Christopher Meeks Developing a voice in your writing is a notion that passes over me every now and then like the "thung" sound of an error message on my computer. "I should develop a voice," I think. "My voice is off today," I think. "Maybe I should work on that voice thing," I think. To some people, the image of "voice" may be akin to a rotund person belting something out in Italian in front of a lot of penguin-suited people paying big bucks waiting for the crystal to shatter. Or, if that metaphor's a bit too extreme, think of "voice" as simply like your own voice. Since most of the information on the Web is text, you want your text to have a real voice, like your own. I can recognize voice in other people's work. One of the great voices of the century is Ernest Hemingway. Is there a way to work on "voice"? OK, we aren't Hemingway... We all want to change the way the next few generations speak, write, and think. How do we do that? Most days I don't worry about voice.

Citing Yourself - Citations - Academic Guides at Center for Student Success If you cite or quote your previous work, treat yourself as the author and your own previous course work as an unpublished paper, as shown in the APA publication manual. For example, if Marie Briggs wanted to cite a paper she wrote at Walden in 2012, her in-text citation might look like this: Briggs (2012) asserted that previous literature on the psychology of tightrope walkers was faulty in that it "presumed that risk-taking behaviors align neatly with certain personality traits or disorders" (p. 4). And in the reference list: Briggs, M. (2012). If your original work contained citations from other sources, you will need to include those same citations in the new work as well, per APA. According to Briggs (2012), recent psychologists such as "Presley and Johnson (2009) too quickly attributed risk-taking to genetic factors, ignoring the social family issues that often influence the decision to explore pursuits such as tightrope walking" (p. 5).

Nuts and Bolts: “Thought” Verbs In six seconds, you’ll hate me. But in six months, you’ll be a better writer. From this point forward – at least for the next half year – you may not use “thought” verbs. The list should also include: Loves and Hates. And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those, later. Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…” Thinking is abstract. Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus, until he’d had to bum a ride or pay for a cab and got home to find Monica faking sleep, faking because she never slept that quiet, those mornings, she’d only put her own cup of coffee in the microwave. Instead of characters knowing anything, you must now present the details that allow the reader to know them. Instead of saying: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.” You’ll have to say: “Between classes, Gwen was always leaned on his locker when he’d go to open it. Versus:

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