#AskDrEditor: Using the active voice strategically

My editing advice column, Ask Dr. Editor, is available through UniversityAffairs.ca. This Ask Dr. Editor piece explains the active voice, when to use it, and its application alongside passive voice: “Using the active voice strategically: How and where to edit for active voice constructions in your academic writing.” Have a question you want me to answer? Contact me orContinue reading “#AskDrEditor: Using the active voice strategically”

#AskDrEditor: Borrowing fresh eyes for your academic writing

My editing advice column, Ask Dr. Editor, is now available through UniversityAffairs.ca. The seventh Ask Dr. Editor column describes how to use three of my favourite free online algorithms to support your editing processes: “Borrowing Fresh Eyes for Your Academic Writing.” Have a question you want me to answer? Contact me or ask me onContinue reading “#AskDrEditor: Borrowing fresh eyes for your academic writing”

25 words

Your sentences are too long. Shorten your sentences! As an editor, I’m more descriptive instead of prescriptive. I know that audience, context and genre shape meaning. Language is a shifting beast–but more problematically than that, the so-called ‘rules’ of grammar and writing are arbitrary, classist, colonialist, even wrong. But I’m still going to tell youContinue reading “25 words”

Making paragraphs flow

We all know that good paragraphs cohere around a single topic and are book-ended by strong, analytical take-away sentences. But how can a disjointed, staccato-sounding paragraph be made to have flow? Flow is an elusive quality — it’s the sense that sentences move logically and seamlessly without repetition or heavy-handed transitioning. Sometimes this flow comesContinue reading “Making paragraphs flow”

Intensifiers don’t

Intensifiers — the adverbs and adjectives that writers include to add force to their expression — don’t have the effect that some imagine they might. Take these two examples: Dave is a trustworthy employee. Dave is a really trustworthy employee. In which of these examples might a reader be left wondering if Dave will beContinue reading “Intensifiers don’t”