Punctuation Hilarity

[found on dailywritingtips.com]

“I’ve finally got round to reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.

Here’s a book that is not only useful and fun to read, its phenomenal popularity carries a moral for every writer:

Don’t worry about following the market. Don’t try to produce another DaVinci Code or Harry Potter. Write what you’re enthusiastic about and kindred spirits will find your book.

Who could have guessed that a book about punctuation would hit the top of the charts?

First published in April of 2004, Eats, Shoots and Leaves spent 25 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list and by October of that year had gone back to press 22 times to bring the total of copies in print to a million. I can’t guess how many copies are out there by now.

At a bit more than 200 pages including the bibliography, this little book describes the rules that govern the use of:

    • apostrophe
    • comma
    • colon
    • semi-colon
    • dash
    • hyphen
    • period

Plenty of other writing guides exist that describe the use of punctuation symbols, but the Truss book livens the discussion by throwing in history, examples of offensive punctuation, and the cheeky attitude that any English speaker smart enough to achieve an elementary school education ought to be smart enough to use apostrophes correctly.”

[found on http://www.dailywritingtips.com/review-of-eats-shoots-and-leaves]

If It’s Passive—Pass it…

[found on hamilton.edu]
  • Passive voice produces a sentence in which the subject receives an action.
    • In contrast, active voice produces a sentence in which the subject performs an action.
  • Passive voice often produces unclear, wordy sentences,
    • whereas active voice produces generally clearer, more concise sentences.
  • To change a sentence from passive to active voice, determine who or what performs the action,
    • and use that person or thing as the subject of the sentence.
    • PASSIVE voice:
      • “On April 19, 1775, arms were seized at Concord, precipitating the American Revolution.”
    • ACTIVE voice:
      • “On April 19, 1775, British soldiers seized arms at Concord, precipitating the American Revolution.”
[found on http://www.hamilton.edu/tip#Writing%20for%20Clarity]

Active / Passive Voice

[found on plainlanguage.gov]

What is active/passive voice?

“To know whether you are writing in the active or passive voice, identify the subject of the sentence and decide whether the subject is doing the action or being acted upon.

  • Passive Voice: the subject is the receiver of the action.
    The tax return (subject) was completed (action) before the April 15 deadline by Mr. Doe.
  • Active Voice: the subject does an action to an object.
    Mr. Doe (subject) completed (action) the tax return (object) before the April 15 deadline.

When we write in the passive voice, we add some form of the helping verb “to be” (am, is, are, was, were, being, or been) to an otherwise strong verb that really did not need help.

  • Passive: Additional information (subject) can be obtained (action) by employees from our website.
  • Active: Employees (subject) can obtain (action) additional information (object) from our website.”
[found on http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/quickreference/dash/dashactive.cfm]