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Chapter 6. Sentence Sense > Sentence Style - Pg. 62

Sentence Sense 62 Write Angles Punctuation is a key style element because it determines the links between sentences. A period shows a full stop between ideas; a comma and a coordinating conjunction show addition, choice, consequence, contrast, or cause. A semicolon shows the second sentence completes the first sentence. Finally, a semicolon and a conjunctive adverb (a word such as nevertheless or however) show addition, consequence, contrast, cause and effect, time, emphasis, or addition. Which version do you select? It depends on your audience, purpose, and style. Passive Aggressive What's the difference between these two sentences? · In 1936, a racehorse was beaten by American track star Jesse Owens over a 100-yard course, and a head start was given to the horse. · In 1936, American track star Jesse Owens beat a racehorse over a 100-yard course, and the horse had a head start. The first sentence is in the passive voice; the second sentence is in the active voice. Writer's Block Don't make the mistake of assuming that the active voice is always better than the passive voice. It's not. Use the passive voice when you want to avoid placing blame ("A mistake was made" rather than "You made a mistake"). In addition, use passive voice in scientific writing to give prominence to the facts rather than the writer. Verbs can show whether the subject performs the action or receives the action. This is called voice. A verb is active when the subject performs the action. A verb is passive when its action is performed upon the subject. The active voice creates a better writing style because it is less wordy and clearer than the passive voice. To change a verb from the passive to active voice, make the agent ("by--") the new subject. Passive voice: Active voice: Union dues are paid in Japan by robots. Robots in Japan pay union dues.