Thoughts About Writing

The future can be a strange state of affairs, if it is really anything at all. Every time we get there, we call it the present, and then that present doesn’t last long without more future. Like the past, the future is tied to the present, and from where we are now in our minds, we can even think about what will be past in the future. Strange, indeed, and some suspect that the whole tangled web is the work of language. Writers know that language creates a world of its own, and good writers writing for the sake of
The Passive Voice: When and When Not to Use It Tuesday, December 8 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. CT Who’s doing what seems to be an almost irresistible attraction for us. Good writers know this, and they prefer sentences that show the subject acting rather than being acted upon—what is known in grammar as the active and passive voice of a verb. Still, there are times when the passive voice is the better choice, and a little attention to how we are constructing our verbs can make all the difference in the clarity and force of our sentences. Writing Smartly’s next
No sooner do we recognize that a well-written sentence is clear and exact than we come upon good writers not saying everything they mean. Look closely at a perfectly fine sentence like she thinks the package will be delivered today, and you can see that something grammatical is not quite right: what does it mean to think the package? Not much, says the schoolmarm or martinet missing, as they often do, the forest for the trees. We know in our bones that she thinks the package means she thinks that the package, and we don’t stumble over a sentence when

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