Passive voice versus active voice is an often-misunderstood issue, regardless of an author’s level of expertise.
Cambridge, MA (PRWEB) January 22, 2014
At TotalEdit.com, an editing service, it is standard practice for the editing team to identify the top three errors that they saw most frequently in the previous year to assist writers in the upcoming year. For 2013, the TotalEdit.com editors have put their heads together to identify which common grammatical errors were most difficult for authors to overcome. These three grammar errors include the misuse of commas, using passive over active voice, and the use of clichéd language.
The Oxford or Serial Comma
Long thought to be simply a difference in style preferences, the use of commas is actually a bit more precise than that. The serial or Oxford comma, which writers and editors alike frequently categorize as a personal style preference, has become the norm in recent years. When writers list two things, the use of the word “and” to separate the two items is sufficient (e.g., red and white), while three or more list items will require the oxford comma (e.g., red, white, and blue).
The second grammatical error that plagued many authors this year was passive voice. Passive voice versus active voice is an often-misunderstood issue, regardless of an author’s level of expertise. What many editors on the TotalEdit.com team suggest doing is eliminating the telltale word “by” from your document (e.g., “the park bench was sat upon by the jogger,” versus “the jogger sat upon the park bench”). The subject-verb agreement mandates that the verb follow the subject in the sentence and not the other way around. While most readers can usually understand a sentence that uses passive voice, the use of passive voice is discouraged.
There are certainly some instances where a cliché or idiom seems like the best way to say something. Some examples of this include “straight from the horse’s mouth” or “the pot calling the kettle black.” While most native English speakers know immediately what these phrases mean, there are many, particularly those readers who do not speak English as a first language, who are likely to read these phrases in a literal sense and become very confused. This is also one of the more straightforward ways that writers can damage their credibility.
The editors working at TotalEdit.com are able to take any document and turn it into natural and smooth English. Even those authors or aspiring authors who are nervous about their English skills in terms of grammar and spelling can turn to TotalEdit.com for editing service.