Tag Archives: writing

Word Nerd: How the passive voice can ruin your college application

11 Sep

It is well known that the passive voice should be avoided. The question is, who does the well-knowing and the avoiding? The answer, of course, is you and me. But it’s not always that obvious. When to use the passive voice First, without getting bogged down in a yawn-inducing grammar lesson, let’s look at what […]

Word Nerd: How to write an email to your professor

5 Jun

Thanks in part to films such as The Absent-Minded Professor (a Disney classic from 1961), the 1963 film The Nutty Professor (remade in 1996 starring Eddie Murphy, and as an animated version in 2008), and the 1989 film Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams, the eccentric professor has become something of a stereotype. The reality, […]

Word Nerd: 4 Secrets to Writing a Good Sentence

1 May

A good sentence is key to writing a respectable piece of prose – whether it’s a letter, an essay, or a novel. We can entertain ambitions about writing epic novels, or A-grade essays, but, without a good hold on this building block, our ambitions are likely to remain pipe dreams. In this Word Nerd, we […]

Word Nerd: Why it’s important to write concisely

3 Apr

Business news reports sometimes refer to “manufacturing units” when they mean “factories”. One college library had a sign above its photocopier that read “Reprographic Unit”. We often use two or more long words when a short one would be enough. This sort of verbosity – sometimes the result of a shaky vocabulary, and at other […]