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Verb Tense

Uploaded by EssayEdge on Jan 07, 2002

As you write your essay, remember to focus on verbs and keep adjectives to a minimum. Pumping your sentences full of adjectives and adverbs is not the same thing as adding detail or color. Adjectives and adverbs add lazy description, but verbs add action.

Passive Tense


Our editors find that one of the greatest weaknesses of admissions essays is their frequent use of the passive tense. For this mini-lesson you will learn why the passive voice should be avoided, how to identify it, and how to replace it with the preferred active voice.

Overuse of the passive voice throughout an essay can make your prose seem flat and uninteresting. Sentences in active voice are also more concise than those in passive voice. You can recognize passive-voice expressions because the verb phrase will always include a form of to be, such as am, is, was, were, are, or been. The presence of a be-verb, however, does not necessarily mean that the sentence is in passive voice. In sentences written in passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed in the verb; the subject is acted upon. In sentences written in active voice, the subject performs the action expressed in the verb; the subject acts.

EXAMPLES:
(Passive) I was selected to be the tuba player by the band leader.
(Active) The bandleader selected me to be the tuba player.

(Passive) I will be prepared for college as a result of the lessons my mother taught me.
(Active) My mother taught me lessons that will prepare me for college

(Passive) I am reminded of her voice every time I hear that song.
(Active) That song reminds me of her voice.





EXERCISE #4: STRONG VERBS vs. WEAK VERBS


Fill in the blanks using the most descriptive or active verb phrase.



1. After working closely with my mentor, I __________ advanced techniques in oil painting.

a) was beginning to master
b) began to master
c) mastered

2. My newspaper article on the labor strikes __________ both praise and criticism.

a) generated
b) got
c) was the recipient of

3. Once I joined the debate team, I __________ the opportunity to compete every weekend.

a) sought
b) had
c) was exposed to

4. Samuel’s touchdown __________ the stadium crowd.

a) created much energy in
b) energized
c) really energized

5. Woolf’s essay __________ my opinion of gender inequality.

a) challenged
b) made me take another look at
c) was challenging to

6. As Jessica drew near me, I __________ the baton and took off running.

a) grasped
b) got
c) was given

7. Once my mother had...

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Uploaded by:   EssayEdge

Date:   01/07/2002

Category:   Lesson 4

Length:   4 pages (900 words)

Views:   2215

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