Used mostly active verbs?
- Example, passive verb: The table below is intended to identify existing noise levels in the project area.
- Example, active verb: The table below identifies existing noise levels in the project area.
- Nominalizations are verbs or adjectives that have been turned into nouns. These words often end in -tion, -ing, or -ment.
- Examples, nominalizations: requirement, determination, recommendation, action, approval
- Examples, verbs: require, determine, recommend, act, approve
Created sentences with actors?
- Examples, subject is not an actor: The analysis of the roadway indicated that it is unsafe.
- Example, subject (actor) completes the action: Engineers determined that the roadway is unsafe.
Eliminated noun strings?
- Example, noun string: We are proposing several transportation demand management strategies to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles on I-5.
- Example, transformed noun string: We are proposing several strategies to manage transportation demand and reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles on I-5.
Kept complex information out of the subject?
- Example, items as the subject: Metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and phthalates were detected within the sediments.
- Example, items as the object of the verb: The sediments contained metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and phthalates.
Kept subjects and verbs close together?
- Example, verb far away from the subject: No habitats associated with listed threatened and endangered species possibly occurring in the project area would be affected by the proposed project.
- Example, verb closer to the subject: The proposed project would not affect the habitats of threatened and endangered species that may live in the project area.
Given your reader a chance to pause?
- To avoid reader fatigue, use short sentences, commas, and semi-colons to allow your readers a chance to pause.
- Example, no chance to pause: For this alternative we considered the impacts of road building on migration patterns of 7 threatened species as well as hydrological impacts.
- Examples, chance to pause: For this alternative, we considered the impacts of road building on migration patterns of 7 threatened species, as well as hydrological impacts.
Used parallel form?
- Using parallel form often means starting sentences (or headings) in the same way, e.g., with nouns, -ing words, or questions.
- Example, list not in parallel form1:
- Sensitivity of Beavers to Contaminant
- Great Blue Heron Population
- Turtles Affected by Pollutants
- Fish Contamination
- Example, list in parallel form1:
- Beavers Decimated by Asbestos
- Great Blue Herons Turned Brown by Industrial Days
- Turtles Reduced in Size by PCBs
- Fish Deformed by Radionuclides
1Hirst, R. n.d. Lesson 6 Using Parallel Form In Professional Writing Style. Available online at http://www.designsensory.com/pws/lesson6/lesson.html [Last accessed 12 Aug 2014].