Writing Wednesdays—Absolutely...actually...

ABSOLUTELY
Don’t use this word to mean “very” or “yes,” as in:
Will there be a church retreat this year? Absolutely!
That pie was absolutely delicious.
The word speaks of condition or fullness:
USE: The Internet here is absolutely nonfunctional.
However, even with this proper usage, consider dropping the word. Adverbs are another evidence of clutter in your sentences.
The Internet here is nonfunctional.
ABSTRACTIONS
You can usually reword abstract words and achieve a better effect. For instance, don't make a suggestion, come to a conclusion, voice an accusation, or make a discovery; just suggest, conclude, accuse, and discover. Failures, performances, and examinations are distant and faceless, whereas speaking of the high school seniors who failed to perform well on their final exams creates clarity by focusing the reader.
These sentences require weak verbs. We could write the dull and cluttered report, "The intention of the committee is to audit," or we could be clear about our characters' actions, as in, "The committee intends to audit." By paring down words, we can pare down phrases, and thus pare down sentences to concise but vibrant levels.
ACCIDENT, MISHAP
An accident is not always an unfortunate occurrence, as there can be “lucky accidents” (providentially speaking, of course). However, when it comes to the unfortunate, think of a mishap as something smaller than an accident. Don’t speak of “mishap” that took a dear brother’s life, though a “mishap” may have caused him to break his leg.
ACTIVE VOICE
The "active voice" describes a sentence in which the subject is the doer of the main verb. By contrast, the passive voice places the doer somewhere else in the sentence, if at all. For instance, here is an example of the passive voice:
You are very appreciated at this church.
This would be a very strange thing to hear. In this sentence, "you" are the subject, but not the doer of the verb. Who is the doer? Who knows? Someone in the church is grateful for your presence, so be thankful for that. The only thing we know is that the speaker does not seem is not among the appreciative, or else he would have said, "I appreciate you," or, "We appreciate you."
Of course, the speaker likely meant to include himself among the appreciative, and should have better chosen his words. This helps avoid any confusion by avoiding bureaucratic talk.
As another example, consider this:
The trash needs to be taken out to the curb.
"Trash" is the subject, but it is not walking itself out the door. The implicit doer in this sentence is "someone," or specifically, "someone other than myself." If the speaker had intended to take the trash, he would have said "Excuse me while I take the trash to the curb."
Thus, try to always use the active. You will communicate more clearly.
ACTUALLY
Avoid using it. See the notes on "absolutely."

Popular posts from this blog

Why Jesus Culture, Bethel Church, and Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry are Spiritually Dangerous (Part 3 of 3)

Was Rebekah a child when she married Isaac?

Why Jesus Culture, Bethel Church, and Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry are Spiritually Dangerous (Part 2 of 3)