in The Basics

Tips for Writing Strong and Impactful Sentences

Think about the structure of your written sentences. Is your writing clear and concise, and does it easily get your point across to the reader? Are you providing your readers with valuable, authentic content in such a way that it creates trust in you as the author? Writing strong, impactful and powerful sentences can help you achieve all the above.

Active vs. Passive Voice

First of all, we need to understand the difference between Active and Passive Voice. According to Writer’s Digest’s Spring 2014 issue of Writing Basics, “Grammatically speaking, voice refers to whether the subject of a sentence is on the giving or receiving end of the action.” Active voice is used when the subject is doing (or giving) the action, such as: John wrote an informative article (“John” is the subject). Passive voice is used when the subject is being acted upon (or receiving), such as: An informative article was written by John (“article” is the subject). Strong sentences are generally written in the active voice, while weak sentences are usually written in the passive voice. However, there are times when using the passive voice is more appropriate.

A Few Powerful Tips

Now that we know about active and passive voice, here are some tips to creating strong and impactful sentences:

  • Use the active voice (unless you have a reason to use passive).
  • Limit prepositions and prepositional phrases. Example: The opinion of the staff… can be changed to The staff’s opinion… Try replacing these words and phrases with a verb.
  • Eliminate needless words and modifiers like: very, really, actually, etc.
  • Convey your ideas in as few words as possible – each word should add value.
  • Begin sentences with a verb, a noun, or words ending in “ly” and “ing.”
  • Start sentences with an infinitive phrase, such as: To improve… This helps reduce unnecessary wordiness. (Infinitive phrases can also be inserted within a sentence.)
  • Pay attention to your language and do not make elementary grammatical or writing errors.

What do you struggle with when trying to write clear and effective sentences?
What suggestions can you offer for writing stronger sentences?

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