How to Improve Your Sentences Part II
Omit words which have already been clearly implied
One or more words can be omitted when they are already clearly implied.
John had finished his studies and gone to play football with his friends. (Better than ‘John had finished his studies and had gone to play football with his friends.)
Alice has written the letter and posted it. (Better than ‘Alice has written the letter and has posted it’.)
Note that words can be omitted only when the subjects are of the same number and person. Omitting words can cause error to occur when the verbs have different subjects or when the subjects are of different number or person.
For example, read the sentence given below:
The floor has been cleaned and the clothes have been washed. (Here the clauses ‘the floor has been cleaned’ and ‘the clothes have been washed’ have different subjects. The subjects floor and clothes are also of different number. It is, therefore, wrong to write ‘The floor has been cleaned and clothes washed’.)
I have groomed the dogs and washed the kennel. (Here both clauses have the same subject, I. It is, therefore, possible to omit the word have.)
The dogs have been groomed and the kennel has been washed. (NOT The dogs have been groomed and kennel washed.)
Here the clauses ‘the dogs have been groomed’ and ‘the kennel has been washed’ have different subjects. The subjects dogs and kennel are also of different number.
Use active voice whenever possible
Active verbs are more effective than passive verbs. Therefore, use active voice whenever possible.
Compare: Your help will be appreciated by us. (Passive)
We will appreciate your help. (Active)
Rewrite the following sentences, making the verbs active.
A house is being built on the plot.
The news of her death was received by us with sadness.
A very high standard was set by the athletes.
The story was written by a friend of mine.
They are building a house on the plot.
We received the news of her death with sadness.
The athletes set a very high standard.
A friend of mine wrote the story.
Note that while active sentences are more effective and better than passive sentences, the latter is preferred in cases where the object is to be emphasized.