Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cheat Sheet - Was/Were

Another item that shows up quite regularly when I judge/critique others' works is the passive voice using 'was' and 'were.'

Again, there will be times that one should use these words when writing but I recommend eliminating them if possible.  When 'was/were' appear in a sentence, the story is being told and not shown.

Thus, Passive voice is telling and we need to show.

In most cases, one needs to rewrite the sentence in order to change it from passive to active.

     Passive: All patrons were enchanted when he played
     Active: He enchanted all those listening when his fingers tickled the ivory keys.

     P: He was now leaning on a car casually.
     A: He leaned against the car.

     P: … an airman was escorting her best friend to the dance floor.
     A: … an airman escorted her best friend to the dance floor.

Granted, these may not be the best examples. I will look for better examples to post in the future.

If you have any examples, please post them in the comments.

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