Lesson for Sentence Clarity
Three very important ways to refine your prose:
- Active Voice
Create parallel constructions for the following sentences (parallel means that each item or phrase is in a similar grammatical structure):
- The new employee is enthusiastic, skilled, and you can depend on her.
- Our trip was boring, expensive, and one I’ll never repeat.
- She plans to study all this month and on scoring well in her licensing examination.
Create non-redundant constructions for the following sentences:
- I think I should forewarn you ahead of time before you visit my parents.
- Asking what your country can do for you isn’t appropriate. Asking what you can do for your country is, however, appropriate.
Revising sexist language. As a general rule, don’t refer to a person, job, or activity as gendered. In other words, don’t forget that men and women may occupy the same jobs. What to do?
- Make things plural.
- Switch between he and she.
- Use person instead of man or woman.
Unless you’re addressing high school children or younger people, use man/men or woman/women.