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Category: Grammar

Tricky grammar: dangling modifiers, lie/lay, I/me

Tricky grammar: dangling modifiers, lie/lay, I/me

In a previous part of my life, I was an English professor. In that role, I wound up repeatedly explaining bits of grammar that writers tripped over again and again. Three of these were the dangling modifier, the difference between “lie” and “lay,” and the use of “I” and “me” in compound constructions. I also spent time explaining what passive voice, but I’ve already talked about that in a previous post. Dangling modifier Here’s an example of a dangling modifier:…

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Three Tips to Avoid Passive Voice and Passive Writing

Three Tips to Avoid Passive Voice and Passive Writing

On one writers board I frequent, people repeatedly warn about using forms of the verb “to be” because that would be “passive voice” and that’s bad writing. Every time I read that, my blood pressure rises a little. Allow me to differentiate between passive voice, emphasis on action, and the delights of characters who shape situations rather than just respond to them. Passive voice Warning: Grammar ahead The terms “active voice” and “passive voice” apply only to transitive verbs, i.e….

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