Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (11th Edition)

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Intention is temporally divisible into two: prospective intention and immediate intention. That is, the cognitive component of prospective intention is a plan. It has a complex cognitive component of two temporal kinds: prospective and immediate.

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We use prospective intention to represent how we have acted in our past and present and how we will act in the future. That is, we use the cognitive component of prospective intention to help us plan.

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Some argue that any change in form changes meaning. In this case, the writer might offer an opinion, but only his readers could decide whether the two passages have different meanings, because at the end of the day, a passage means only what careful and competent readers think it does.

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But often, you must write about abstractions. When you do, turn them into virtual characters by making them the subjects of verbs that tell a story. If readers are familiar with your abstractions, no problem. But when they are not, avoid using lots of other abstract nominalizations around them. If not, try we. Look at the first six or seven words ignore short introductory phrases. Then revise so that each has a specific character as subject of a specific verb.

To revise, you may have to invent characters. Use we, I, or any other word that seems appropriate. Contradictions among the data require an explanation.


Having their research taken seriously by professionals in the field was hard work for the students. A decision about forcibly administering medication in an emer- gency room setting despite the inability of an irrational patient to provide legal consent is usually an on-scene medical decision. The performance of the play was marked by enthusiasm, but there was a lack of intelligent staging. Despite the critical panning of the latest installment of the series, the love of the loyal fans was not affected.

Tracing transitions in a well-written article provides help in efforts at improving coherence in writing. The rejection of the proposal was a disappointment but not a surprise because our expectation was that a political decision had been made. With the decline in network television viewing in favor of online streaming video, awareness is growing at the networks of a need to revise programming. Characters and Passive Verbs More than any other advice, you probably remember Write in the active voice, not in the passive. The passive differs from the active in two ways: 1.


The subject names the goal of the action. For example, compare these two sentences. We can manage the problem if we control costs. Problem management requires cost control. To understand why we respond to those two sentences as we do, we have to distinguish the technical, grammatical meanings of active and passive from their figurative, impressionistic meanings. In what follows, I discuss grammatical passives. But the passive is often the better choice.

If we do not know who spreads rumors, we cannot say, and no one doubts who finds people guilty or fines them or who should keep records safe. So those passives are the right choice. For example, A sentence confuses us when it opens with information that is new and unexpected.

Style: Lessons In Clarity & Grace, Pearson New International Edition, 11th Edition

Our decisionfamiliar information will be determinedpassive verb by the weight we give to industrial competiveness as opposed to the value we attach to the liberal arts. Would the active or passive verb help your readers move more smoothly from one sentence to the next? To do so. But they had not yet so devastated active Germany as to destroy its ability to resist. Had she wanted to explain history from the German point of view.

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But we could read the sentence more easily if it were passive. I will discuss the issue of intended impersonality in Lesson Pick a point of view and stick to it. Exercise 4.

Its borders had been breached. Germany was not so devastated. Avoid this: By early Independence is gained by those on welfare when skills are learned that the marketplace values. It had not been so devastated. Germany had essentially been defeated. Which sentences improve? Which do not? In the first two. Different planes of the painting are noticed. They are subject. We merely take. Bucknam McPeek. The subjects were then divided into a high. Contrary to that claim. We observed.

We use. Half of each group was randomly assigned to a treatment group or to a placebo group. Efron and Morris describe. We might find. We have used. We compare.. Here are the first few words from several consecutive sentences from Science. Science education will not be improved in this nation to a level sufficient to ensure that American industry will be supplied with skilled workers and researchers until more money is provided to primary and secondary schools..

Each has been weighted. In this article.. A passive sentence like that. Those verbs are usually in the passive voice: The subjects were observed. We begin by. What distinguishes those actions is that only the writer can lay claim to them. Those verbs are usually in the passive voice: The subjects were observed.. Metadiscourse appears most often in introductions.

Metadiscourse is language that refers not to the substance of your ideas. I will show. I added preparations of. These verbs are often active and in the first person: We will show. Most writers would use a passive verb. I have shown. Look at the verbs in the passages above. They are examples of what is called metadiscourse.

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We know that behind those impersonal sentences are still fleshand-blood people doing. When the two differ.. Then I considered. I placed my prism at the entrance.