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From passive voice to active voice

From passive voice to active voice

If you're a writer, you're probably always looking for some way to get ahead in the game. What if I told you that there was one technique that could take your regular writing and make it pop? This technique is simple, anyone can use it to make their writing more effective, exciting and most importantly, professional. What is this technique? It's called writing in an active voice. You might have heard the words passive voice and active voice before when it comes to writing, but what exactly

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How to use English contractions correctly: with word list and examples

How to use English contractions correctly: with word list and examples

A contraction, or short form, is an abbreviated form of a word or words, from which one or more letters have been left out and replaced by an apostrophe. They're very common in conversational spoken English. For example, when speaking informally we usually say words such as ‘I am’ as ‘I'm’, ‘he is’ as ‘he’s’, ‘it is’ as ‘it's’, and ‘we will’ as ‘we'll’. What about contractions in written English? Informal writing Informal writing is very much like a spoken conversation b

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Can I use phrasal verbs in formal writing?

Can I use phrasal verbs in formal writing?

How confident do you feel about using English phrasal verbs correctly? If you’re a non-native English speaker, the prospect of mastering the use of these frustrating, but very common and very useful, parts of language might fill you with dread! I know English language learners often worry about learning how to use them correctly. But if you’re a native English speaker, there’s a good chance you use them many times a day without giving them a second thought. And although they’re very fa

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The difference between 'their', 'there' and 'they’re': with example sentences

The difference between 'their', 'there' and 'they’re': with example sentences

their, there, they’re (/ðɛː/) ‘Their’, ‘there’, and ‘they’re’ are commonly misspelled and used incorrectly in writing, even by native English speakers. It’s easily done because they’re homophones - words that are pronounced the same, but are spelt differently and have different meanings. The word ‘homophone’ comes from Greek homóphõnos homo same – phõné sound However, although these three words sound the same, they have very different meanings, and so it’s important to use

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What are the definite and indefinite articles in English? (a, an, the)

What are the definite and indefinite articles in English? (a, an, the)

An explanation of the definite and indefinite articles in English, and how we use them. With example sentences. What is an article? Articles are a part of grammar often included in the word class determiner. In English, there are two articles: the indefinite article, a/an, and the definite article, the. We use the to refer to something specific, and a/an to refer to something non-specific or general. For example, if we say, “He’s married to an English woman.”, this could

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How to Proofread - 15 tips for error-free writing

How to Proofread - 15 tips for error-free writing

The importance of proofreading your writing, plus key proofreading tips that show you how to proofread and make sure your writing is error-free. What is proofreading? To proofread a document is to carefully read it to find any errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar, so they can be corrected before publishing. Have you ever wondered where the word ‘proofreader’ comes from? It makes sense when we know the etymology of the word ‘proof’, and that it comes from the Latin probare,

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Improve reader comprehension with online Flesch-Kincaid readability tests

Improve reader comprehension with online Flesch-Kincaid readability tests

This post explores how the Flesch Reading Ease Score and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level readability tests work, and how the results can be used. The Flesch-Kincaid readability tests are popular and long-established ways of measuring how easy your English writing is to read. They’re useful because the level of difficulty of your text directly influences how well your readers engage with it, and how well they absorb the information or message you want to convey. There are two relate

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Is jargon in writing always taboo?

Is jargon in writing always taboo?

The pros and cons of jargon in writing, and how we can avoid using it if we need to. If you’re baffled by ‘accountability matrices’, ‘leveraging synergies’, and ‘swim lanes’, and the expression ‘opening the kimono’ just sounds downright creepy - you’re not alone. Although jargon has a reputation for being pretentious, exclusionary, and confusing, it isn’t inherently bad. When used appropriately it’s actually a very useful form of language. So, let’s look at some of the pros and co

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Euphemisms: Comforting or Deceitful?

Euphemisms: Comforting or Deceitful?

What are euphemisms? Why do we use them? And are they words of kindness and comfort, or words of disguise and deceit? Euphemisms are mild, indirect or evasive expressions that are used instead of those that are offensive, unpleasant or embarrassing. They’re used in all areas of life, but tend to be most common around so-called taboo areas such as death, sex, bodily functions, and violence. Why do we use euphemisms? So, why do we choose to use less disagreeable, or vaguer, wor

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The benefits (and limitations) of online sentiment analysis tools

The benefits (and limitations) of online sentiment analysis tools

The analysis of texts to determine the writers' or speakers' opinion and attitude expressed, and how the results can be used. What is sentiment analysis? Sentiment analysis is also known as opinion mining. In its simplest form, it’s a way of determining how positive or negative the content of a text document is, based on the relative numbers of words it contains that are classified as either positive or negative. Positive words would include words such as 'amazing', 'friend

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How to form superlative adjectives: plus 100 common superlatives list

How to form superlative adjectives: plus 100 common superlatives list

Definition of superlative adjectives, and how to form them. Includes a useful list of 100 common superlatives, plus example sentences. What is a superlative? The superlative is used to show that someone or something has more of a particular quality than any other of their kind. Superlatives are usually formed by adding the suffix -est to the end of the adjective, and using the before it (e.g. the fastest), or by adding the most before the adjective (e.g. the most delicious, the mo

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Comparatives: definition, examples, and how to form them

Comparatives: definition, examples, and how to form them

Definition of comparatives, and how to form them. Includes a useful list of 100 common comparatives, and example sentences that show how they’re used. What is a comparative? The comparative forms of adjectives and adverbs are used when you want to compare two things in order to show the difference between them. Let’s have a quick look at a simple example of comparatives in action. In this case, the comparatives more expensive, and cheaper: --> Online Course A is $97, and O

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Five places to use the full stop, or period, and when to omit it

Five places to use the full stop, or period, and when to omit it

The full stop, or period. When to use it, and when not to use it. It’s surprising how much there is to say about a punctuation mark that most of us probably don’t normally give a second thought to. And while this post doesn’t promise to cover absolutely everything there is to know about the full stop - it does cover its most common uses. The full stop The full stop is the most commonly used punctuation mark in English. Its main function, as we know, is to mark the end of a se

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9 ways we use transition words and phrases to strengthen our writing

9 ways we use transition words and phrases to strengthen our writing

This post looks at how we use transition words and phrases in our writing. And lists some commonly used examples. What are transition words? Whatever your goal or purpose for your writing - whether it's to explain, inform, entertain or persuade - you want to present your reader with a cohesive text that conveys information clearly and concisely, and carries them effortlessly from idea to idea, and from beginning to end. Transition words - also known as linking or connecting words

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Why We Use Hedging Language, and Its Impact On Our Writing

Why We Use Hedging Language, and Its Impact On Our Writing

The importance of hedging in writing - how and why we use it - and the potential problems of overuse. Includes a definition of hedging language, plus examples of hedge words and phrases. Going solely by the title of this post, you’d be forgiven for wondering what on earth the hedges that grow in our gardens have to do with writing. But of course we’re not going to be discussing shrubbery. We’re going to look at the approach to making statements and claims, expressing opinions, and answ

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