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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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June 25, 2015

Comments

Lisa Mutchler

I was able to revise those passive verbs quite quickly, in large part thanks to the wonderful English education I received in high school. I will be forever indebted to those great teachers!

I wanted to make one comment about the use of passive verbs to avoid blame. While I think it is gracious and polite to do this when another person has made an error (especially if multiple people are copied on the message), I think it is important to use active verbs when it was your own error. To me, it comes off as immature and unprofessional to avoid responsibility for your own errors by using phrases like, "A mistake was made" or "This task was missed."

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lisa, thanks for that very important point. "A mistake was made" is, at best, a weak admission of responsibility. "I am sorry I made this mistake" shows maturity and confidence.

Lynn

Kai

Thank you so much! Lynn. I do appreciate your posts. I was able to change the sentences quickly but I always missed the articles. Perhaps, I have to be keen on those part. Have you written a blog regarding when to use the articles the, a an and others such as of, with, for and etc.?

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Kai,

I have not written a blog post on the use of articles. The topic is too complex. For example, both of these are correct depending on who is writing:

--I went to school this afternoon. (Correct for a student or teacher.)
--I went to the school this afternoon. (Correct for someone who is not a student or teacher.)

Because of the complexity of the topic, I would not know how to approach it.

Here's my advice to people who need help in this area: When you are corrected by an expert, be sure you understand the correction. Then memorize it or add the information to your notes.

Lynn

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Lynn Gaertner-Johnston
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