Style 102

Answers to Style 101:
1. comma splice
2. missing comma (the "he" makes all the difference in deciding if a comma is needed)
3. run-on
4. fragment
5. misplaced modifier (as written, it looks like the bag is walking home)
6. verb tense disagreement
7. misplaced modifier (did the egg carton eat him?)
8. the comma after "hell" should be a semicolon or period
9. misspellings
10. misspellings

Now we're going to introduce a concept called "voice." Specifically, it can be active or passive. Here is an example of each:

Active: "John loves Shirley."
Passive: "Shirley is loved by John."

In the first instance, one subject actively does something to another; in the second, an object just sits there as something is done to it.

Usually, authors prefer using the active voice when they can. Some authors take this to the extreme and say that passive voice should never be used. I, however, do not advocate that strategy... We'll see why in a minute.

In the case where you have a sentence like, "The ball was thrown into the hoop by the basketball player," the passive voice is clearly a drag on the sentence. It would be much better to write, "The basketball player threw the ball into the hoop."

However, if passive voice were unnecessary in the English language, we probably would not have it. We do, though, and here's the reason:

"Richard Wilkinson was arrested today on charges of grand larceny."

If we were to reword this in the active voice, it would read:

"The police arrested Richard Wilkinson today on charges of grand larceny."

The active voice sentence is not a bad one by any means. However, the emphasis of the sentence has changed. When you use the passive voice, the object getting things done to it becomes the center of attention. So in the passive voice, all the focus is on "Richard Wilkinson." In the active voice, the center of attention is the one doing the action. So in the second sentence, all the focus is on "The police." What's more important, I ask you? If we want to praise the police for their work, perhaps the active voice is more appropriate. But if Richard Wilkinson has been on the lam for months and is a notorious felon, then we might want to focus attention on him rather than the cops who arrested him. In this case, passive voice is actually preferred.

Note that there are times when you can replace passive voice with active voice and still keep the emphasis on the subject just by changing the verb involved. Example:

Passive: John Schuster was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Active: John Schuster received the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the next ten sentences, decide which voice is appropriate, and correct the passive tense as necessary.

1. Dudulo McDudester was a totally rad surfer who was plagued by one very gnarly problem.
2. The big waves were digged most by Dudulo.
3. Dudulo's board, "Bubsy," was totally ridden all over these waves.
4. But the "hang ten" trick was never performed by Dudulo.
5. This is because webbed feet were had by him.
6. Thus Dudulo McDudester was made the object of ridicule by most all the righteous dudes and dudettes of the beach.
7. Flip-flops could not be worn by Dudulo.
8. But something could be done by Dudulo that could not be done by any other surfer.
9. Any ridicule was made up for by this trick.
10. It is called "the Waddleflip," and though it is hard to describe, suffice it to say: Dudulo is now revered by surfers worldwide, for he is truly one totally radulaceous McDudester.

Note: ignore surfer lingo when making corrections; it's all part of the shtick.