The difference between passive and active voice

Verbs are tricky things. At their most basic level, they describe actions, and what or whom those actions affect. The vast majority of sentences contain verbs and at least one noun (though often more than one)—usually the ‘doer’ and the ‘done to’—or to be more technical, the subject and the object. For example: Mikey swept

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How to Use the Abbreviations i.e. and e.g.

i.e. and e.g. come from abbreviated Latin terms. i.e. comes from the Latin id est, which means ‘that is’ or ‘in other words’. e.g. comes from the Latin exempli gratia, which means ‘for example’. Here are some examples of how to use e.g. correctly: ‘John had a large collection of classic cars, e.g., a Rolls

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Shortened Words and Symbols

The correct usage of shortened words and symbols can be confusing for some writers. This does not need to be the case: there are a few basic rules to understand that can ensure these are used correctly and consistently. Shortened words are comprised of two types: abbreviations and contractions. Not understanding the difference between these

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Shortened Phrases

  A shortened phrase is an abbreviation of a group of words form a phrase or name that have been contracted for ease of writing. They are especially useful in essays and theses that repeat the same phrase or name many times. Understanding their correct usage can help avoid errors and confusion, and add to

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Hyphens, En Dashes and Em Dashes

When and Where to Use Hyphens A hyphen is a small dash and this one is the most frequently used. It is the smallest of the three. It is mostly used to join words together. A simple example is joining two words before a noun, such as in the following examples. ‘John drove down a

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Liberate the Hyphen

The problem In the complicated workplace of punctuation, the poor old hyphen needs to form a union. It dutifully performs its role of joining compound words and reliably appears when a suffix or prefix needs assistance. However, many students and writers drag the overworked hyphen into use while the en dash and em dash rest

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Apostrophes, Brackets, Parentheses and Ellipses

Apostrophes ’ Apostrophes are very handy indicators to use in sentences. Thybhey are used to indicate possession. Here are some examples: ‘John’s car was a different colour from my sister’s car.’ ‘I turned the corner to be confronted by my manager’s assistant.’ ’The politician met his mother’s expectations but failed to meet his electors’ expectations.’

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Dash it all! Or, how I learned to work with en dashes and em dashes.

Em dashes are used to separate parts of a sentence, especially when there is an abrupt change from one clause to another, or if special emphasis is required when adding information to an existing clause. See the following sentence for an example: Greek infantry, based on the hoplite—the heavily armed and armoured infantryman organized into

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Choosing between Similar Words

Often, when writing an essay, article or thesis, you will need to decide which particular word works best with your text. Sometimes this can be difficult when there are several words with the same, or similar, meaning; these groups of words are called ‘synonyms’. As an example, the word ‘particular’ (used in the first sentence

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Inclusive Language

Inclusive language has a simple purpose: to ensure that a piece of communication–it may be written or spoken–does not discriminate against groups of people in the community. Discrimination can range from exclusion to derogatory comments and can be based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation or other perceived differences. Often disparaged as ‘political

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