A Word Trick for Creating Active Sentences

pink magnifying glassUsing the Find and Replace function in Word can help a ton when revising and editing a manuscript. It helps to ensure that you stay consistent and don’t miss correcting a frequently made error. I use it a lot to replace “.  ” (period, two spaces) to “. ” (period, one space), when editing manuscripts by people who haven’t overcome the typewriter habit yet.

You can also use the Find function in Word to write more active sentences.

How? you ask…

Use Find to hunt out all “of the” occurrences in your manuscript and then evaluate each one to see if the sentence can be rearranged to activate it. Often, it can be changed into a possessive. For example, writing, “It was the king’s opinion to hang the criminal,” is more active than writing, “It was the opinion of the king to hang the criminal.”  Of course, this may not be the best example. An even more active way would be to write, “The king’s opinion was to hang the criminal,” and even MORE active to write, “The king decided to hang the criminal.” But you get the point.

Search out “of the” and rearranging the sentence to get rid of it can go along way to making your writing more actively. Have you tried it? How did it work out? Feel free to comment.

One thought on “A Word Trick for Creating Active Sentences”

  1. I used this technique prodigiously at your suggestion when revising my manuscript. I cut 3,500 words and significantly improved the tone and flow of the text. NB: do not use the ‘replace’ function in this effort. Read each ‘find’ to insure you want and need to make the change. Not every instance is the right move.

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