As I’ve been reading articles recently and as I work to improve my own writing, I frequently see the issue I write about in this post. It’s common. I’m terribly guilty of it. I want to share it with you in hopes of helping you improve your writing in one more small way.
The issue is weak sentence openers, such as there is, there are, these are, those are, it is and it was. Revise these passive constructions to strengthen your writing and give it added punch. But remember, sometimes they are fine. You need to decide.
In most cases, however, revising these constructions will create effective active voice sentences.
NOT: There is a full moon on Wednesday night.
BUT: On Wednesday night, watch for a full moon.
NOT: There are several ways to prepare hotdogs.
BUT: You have several options to prepare your hotdogs.
OR Several options are available to prepare your hotdogs.
NOT: These are the best days of our lives.
BUT: The best days of our lives are now.
NOT: Those are the best cookies I’ve ever eaten.
BUT: I’ve never eaten better cookies.
NOT: It is not your responsibility to watch the neighbor’s children.
BUT: You are not responsible for watching the neighbor’s children.
NOT: It was common to see several eagles circle over the lake each day.
BUT: Nearly every day, we see several eagles circle over the lake.
OR: Several eagles circle over the lake nearly every day.
NOT: There were three people hiding in the trees.
BUT: Three people hid in the trees.
Search something you’ve written recently and see if you find instances of these phrases and Write away! I bet you’ll like the results. If you get some really good before’s and after’s, share them here.