The active voice is preferred in academic writing.Passive: The car was washed by the students.Active: The students washed the car.Exceptions: In some cases it is necessary or evendesirable to write in the passive voice for instance ifthe subject is not know or if the writer wants thefocus to be on the recipient of the actions. The store was robbed. (We don’t know who robbedthe store.) The President was sworn in. (The president (object)is more important than the person doing the action.
To change a sentence from passive to active voice, do the following:1. Move the passive sentences subject into the active sentences direct object slotPassive: The car (subject) was washed by the students.Active: washed(verb) the car (direct object)2. Remove the auxiliary verb be from the main verb and change main verbs form ifneededPassive: The car was washed by the students.Active: remove “was washed” and change to “washed.”3. Place the passive sentences object of the preposition by into the subject slot.Passive: The car was washed by the students.Active: Remove “by” .Active Sentence: The students washed the car.
Are Singular if they are not countable, and Plural ofthey are countable. For example, dirt and sugar arenon-countable, while trees and marbles are.Some of the dirt has become a permanent part of therug.Some of the trees have been weakened by the storm.Singular: One, someone, anyone, no one, everyone,each, somebody, anybody, nobody, everybody,(n)either, something, anything, nothing, everything.Somebody is coming to dinner.Neither of us believes a word Harry says.Plural: Both, Few, Several.Both are expected at the airport at the same time.Several have suggested canceling the meeting.
Indefinite pronouns use apostrophes to indicate possessive case.Examples:The accident is nobody’s fault.How will the roadwork affect ones daily commute?Some indefinite pronouns may also be used as determinersone, each, either, neither, some, any, one, all, both, few, several, many, mostNote the differences:Each person has a chance.(Each is a determiner describing person.)Each has a chance.(Each is an indefinite pronoun replacing a noun.)Both lawyers pled their cases well.(Both is a determiner describing lawyers.)Both were in the room.(Both is an indefinite pronoun replacing a noun.)
Care should be taken to ensure that the verbagrees with its subject in number (singular orplural).Correct: Neither the highest scorer nor the lowestscorer in the group had any doubt about his or hercompetence.Incorrect: Neither the highest scorer nor thelowest scorer in the group had any doubt abouttheir competence.There are nine rules to follow which are outlined inthe following slide:
1. A phrase or clause between subject and verb does not change the number of the subject.2. Singular indefinite pronoun (See rules for indefinite pronouns) subjects take singular verbs, while Plural indefinite pronoun subjects take plural verbs.3. Compound subjects joined by and are always plural.4. With compound subjects joined by or/nor, the verb agrees with the subject nearer to it.5. Inverted Subjects must agree with the verb.6. Collective Nouns (group, jury, crowd, team, etc.) may be singular or plural, depending on meaning. (Are they acting as one unit? Or individuals?)7. Titles of single entities (books, organizations, countries, etc.) are always singular.8. Plural form subjects with a singular meaning take a singular verb. (e.g. news, measles, mumps, physics, etc.) while, Plural form subjects with singular or plural meaning take a singular or plural verb, depending on meaning. (e.g. politics, economics, etc.)9. With subject and subjective complement of different number, the verb always agrees with the subject.
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