Tutor profile: Annelise D.
What makes passive voice worth avoiding?
"Passive voice" means that a sentence contains an action without an agent. Often, it's a matter of choosing the wrong subject. When a writer uses passive voice, they pass up an opportunity to tell the whole story. For example, "the fort was attacked" passively describes something that happened to the subject, "the fort," and does not communicate who the attacker was. However, "the army attacked the fort" changes "the fort" into the sentence's object and adds "the army" as the subject, resulting in a sentence with more information than in the first example. The presence of the "to be" verb ("is" and "was" and their variants) often indicate a passive sentence. Passive voice is not always bad--it helps when writers specifically want to withhold information, but avoiding passive voice leads to stronger verbs and robust explanations.
Subject: Study Skills
Should students take breaks in the middle of studying?
Yes--as long as study breaks brief and productive. Students should avoid breaks that involve them in another activity with the danger of getting too engrossed; however, short breaks for stretching, water, a walk outside, etc. can be an efficient way to stay refreshed for long hours of schoolwork. Studying isn't just about the brain--the whole person is involved!
Subject: Religious Studies
In the Christian Old Testament, what does it mean when the word "Lord" is spelled out in small caps?
Because the communities of the biblical authors considered the name of God to be sacred, they were not allowed to say "YHWH" aloud. To remind their communities of this, those who wrote out the biblical texts in Hebrew spelled God's name, YHWH (yod he waw he), but inserted the vowels from the Hebrew word for Lord, "adonai." Those vowels, combined with the aforementioned letters, produce a word which is unpronounceable; therefore reminding readers of scripture to replace "YHWH" with "adonai" when reading out loud.
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