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8.4: Drafting Basics: Did You Apply Them?

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    As part of your editing step, you need to check some of the same concepts discussed in the previous chapter on drafting. Remember these guidelines, and refer back to the referenced pages if you need more details or additional examples.

    Write in Active Voice.

    In active voice, the subject comes first in the sentence. In passive voice, the "doer" or subject of the sentence shows up late in the sentence or is missing entirely. Avoid overusing passive voice; it often creates lengthy and confusing sentences.

    Passive: Captain Smith was given a choice assignment by his career field monitor.
    Active: The career field monitor gave Captain Smith a choice assignment.

    Avoid Smothered Verbs.

    Use one specific verb instead of a general verb and extra words.

    Smothered: This directive is applicable to everyone who makes use of the system.
    Better: This directive applies to everyone who uses the system.

    Check for misspelled or commonly misused words.

    In today’s computer age, your software’s spell checker is your first line of defense against misspelled words. Still, you can get into trouble by misusing synonyms or easily confused words like "there" and "their" and "accept" and "except." Spell check will not flag these words because they are spelled correctly, but used in the wrong context. When in doubt, check the dictionary.

    Use parallel construction (parallelism) in lists and series.

    Use a similar grammatical construction within a list or series. Make items of equal importance look equal. If one starts with a verb, start the other with a verb. If three items in a list are commands, make the fourth a command. Parallelism helps make sentences clear.

    Needs work: Remember the following when editing: write in active voice, parallelism, smothered verbs should be avoided, and spelling.
    Better: Remember the following when editing: write in active voice, use parallel construction in lists, avoid smothered verbs, and check for misspelled words.

    Avoid unnecessary redundancy and word doublings.

    Don’t use one word to modify another unless both add value.

    Needs work: Repetitive redundancy hurts readability.
    Better: Redundancy hurts readability.

    Don’t use two nearly identical words unless both add value.

    Needs work: We must comply with the standards and criteria for controlling and reducing environmental pollution."|
    Better: We must comply with the standards for reducing environmental pollution."

    This page titled 8.4: Drafting Basics: Did You Apply Them? is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by US Air Force (US Department of Defense) .

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