Archive for the ‘easy english’ Category

Active voice and passive voice

There are dif­fer­ent kinds of voices like active voice, pas­sive voice, adju­ta­tive voice, anti pas­sive voice, applica­tive voice, causative voice etc. But we gen­er­ally use active voice and pas­sive voice in our gen­eral con­ver­sa­tions. Let us know what these voices are and how to use them.

You might be hav­ing doubts regard­ing the under­ly­ing usage of two forms of voices. If both con­vey the same mean­ing and are inter­change­able, what is the neces­sity of both? Let’s answer this ques­tion. Also, we con­sider emer­gen­cies of voices and sit­u­a­tions appro­pri­ate to them.

It is likely that you are forced in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions forced to use only active voice at least in your writ­ings. This is some­what true but not a rule. There are some sit­u­a­tions when the pas­sive voice is appro­pri­ate, and some­times when it is even essential.


It is best to think of this as not like a rule but a mat­ter of context-sensitivity. That is, you are absolutely allowed to use pas­sive voice in your writ­ing, pro­vided you are aware of some basic things which are really the basics of why there exist two forms of voices.

Per­haps, the rule against pas­sive voice works fine in most of the times. By impos­ing such rules, the instruc­tors can be sure that you do not screw the write-up by inap­pro­pri­ate usage of voice just for fill­ing the pages.

What exactly is the pas­sive voice?

Active voice is the straight for­ward and the pow­er­ful way of expres­sion. On the other hand, pas­sive voice, as the name indi­cates, con­veys only par­tial infor­ma­tion of the sen­tence. A pas­sive state­ment often ignores the agent, also called the sub­ject of the sen­tence. Even if the sub­ject is men­tioned in a pas­sive voice sen­tence, the empha­sis is not on the sub­ject, but on the object of the sentence.

Exam­ple: Errors were made.

Also remem­ber that in case of proverbs and uni­ver­sal facts, the object is taken anonymous.

Exam­ple: The sun rises in the east.

It is said that the sun rises in the east.

In most for for­mal write-up cases, we are not allowed to use the pas­sive voice. But, some­times, the agent of the action has to be absolutely omit­ted like the project reports. There, the object mat­ters much to the reader and not the sub­ject. Hence, we avoid words like ‘I’, ‘me’, etc .The pas­sive voice works exactly for such situations.


The 90% rule:

Even though, in some sit­u­a­tions the pas­sive voice is required, it is not rec­om­mended to use it very often. It is gen­er­ally expected that at least 90% of verbs used should be in active voice such that the write-up is not much dis­turbed by too much of pas­sive verbs.

In fact, it is essen­tial that each and every pas­sive verb should be jus­ti­fied before it is used in a sen­tence. In other way, when you write an essay this time, and every time you tend to use a pas­sive verb, check for the above con­di­tions if rule is jus­ti­fied from the given cases.

How to use punctuation marks?

In pre­vi­ous post we learn about some of the punc­tu­a­tion marks. We also learned how to use them and where to use them. Here are some more punc­tu­a­tion marks that we use gen­er­ally when we are writ­ing in English.

punctuation symbols

punc­tu­a­tion symbols

Semi colon:

a)      A semi colon is used to join sen­tences with prin­ci­pal clauses not con­nected by a conjunction.

Exam­ple: The rocket rose; it sud­den burst into a ball of flame.

We were con­fi­dent; the game was about to start; I felt nervous.

b)      It is used to sep­a­rate clauses which already con­tain commas.


Last year, my brother won every match; there was no one who could defeat him.


a)      Before enu­mer­a­tion of examples.

Exam­ple: This year I’m study­ing these sub­jects: geog­ra­phy, Eng­lish, his­tory, maths and biology.

b)      To intro­duce a quotation.

Exam­ple: Fran­cis says: “Read­ing makes a full man, writ­ing an exact man, speak­ing a ready man”.

c)       To intro­duce state­ment which tells more about the one that comes before it.

Exam­ple: My mother taught me two golden rules: I was to do my best and never tell lies.

Ques­tion marks:

Ques­tion marks are used at the end of a sen­tence that asks a direct question.


Did your sis­ter do her homework?

Is the vehi­cle repaired?

Ques­tion marks are not used

a)      When using indi­rect or reported speech.

Exam­ple: He was asked if he wanted more salary.

b)      When the sen­tence is a request.

Exam­ple: Would you please pass the sauce.

Excla­ma­tion marks:

Excla­ma­tion marks are used after words or a group of words which express sud­den feel­ing: Alas! , Hur­rah!, etc.

Excla­ma­tion marks are not used along with a full stop.


If the excla­ma­tion mark comes after one or two words, start the next words with a cap­i­tal letter.

Exam­ple: Help! Fetch me a glass of water!


Hyphens are used

a)      Hyphens are used to con­nect parts of some com­pound words.

Exam­ples: well-written, mother-in-law.

b)      Hyphens are used in num­bers and fractions.

Exam­ples: Thirty-five



Apos­tro­phes are used

a)      With nouns to show own­er­ship and possession.

Exam­ple: dog’s paw, men’s room etc.

b)      To write plu­rals of num­bers and let­ters of an alphabet.

Exam­ple: There are two S’s in this word.

c)       In expres­sions using time.

Exam­ple: a minute’s rest

A five year’s plan.

Two year’s time

d)      In names of churches

Exam­ple: St.Joseph’s School.

e)      In names of churches end­ing in ‘S’.

Exam­ple: St.Nicholas’

f)       In place of num­bers in dates.

Exam­ple: ’85 (instead of 1985)

g)      To show own­er­ship in a phrase.

Exam­ple: The king of Bhutan’s palace.

h)      To show joint possession.

Tom and Mary’s cat.(otherwise Tom’s and Mary’s cats)


Punc­tu­a­tion is prob­a­bly one of the tough ele­ments of Eng­lish one remem­bers from his/her school edu­ca­tion. But, as you are here, it is time for you know that punc­tu­a­tion is so sim­ple pro­vided you are aware of some appro­pri­ate rules per­tain­ing to the usage of for­mal Eng­lish. Punc­tu­a­tion is also very impor­tant not only in the for­mal writ­ings but also dur­ing con­ver­sa­tions and pub­lic speaking.

Punc­tu­a­tion is sim­ply that refers to the appro­pri­ate usage of putting points or stops in writ­ing. For any writ­ten thing to be under­stood, it should be punc­tu­ated prop­erly. The fol­low­ing are the prin­ci­pal stops used in punctuation.

  1. Full stop or period (.)
  2. Comma (,)
  3. Semi colon (;)
  4. Colon (:)
  5. Ques­tion mark (?)
  6. Exclam­a­tory mark (!)
  7. Hyphen (-)
  8. Apos­tro­phe (‘)

We below give the main rules or guide­lines for the usage of all stops.



Full stop:

A full stop is used

a)      At the end of the sentence.(unless a ques­tion mark or exclam­a­tory mark is used).

b)      After ini­tials in name, coun­tries, medals, degrees.



V.C. (Vice chancellor)


c) After short­ened forms of words that do not end in the last let­ter of the word.



A full stop is not used

  1. After short­ened forms of words that end with the last let­ter of the word.

Dept (Depart­ment)

Lieut (Lieu­tenant)

  1. After sym­bols of mea­sure­ment km, kmph etc.
  2. After head­ings and titles.
  3. After dates: 25 June, 1890.
  4. 5. After a sig­na­ture in a letter.


A comma rep­re­sents a short­est pause, and is used

  1. To sep­a­rate words in a list

Exam­ple: I gave him a book, a rub­ber, and a ruler.

  1. To sep­a­rate adjec­tives in a sentence.

Exam­ple:  She wore a beau­ti­ful, long new coat.

  1. To show a pause by sep­a­rat­ing a phrase.

Exam­ple: The cat yawn­ing lazily closed its eyes.

  1. To show a pause by sep­a­rat­ing sentences.

Exam­ple: His room was dirty, books were scat­tered and dirty clothes lit­tered the floor.

  1. Before ‘but’

Exam­ple: The new baby was small, but strong.

  1. Before ‘as’, ‘since’, ’because’.
  2. After par­tici­ple phrases that begin sentences.

Exam­ple: Feel­ing tired, I went to bed.

  1. Before and after the words that give more infor­ma­tion about the subject.

Exam­ple:  My friend, who is a lawyer, is a ten­nis player.

  1. After ‘how­ever’.

Exam­ple: we know how­ever, that she is going to die.

  1. To sep­a­rate two prin­ci­pal clauses joined by ‘but’, ‘so’, ‘for’, ‘or’, ‘nor’.

Exam­ple: Fin­ish your home­work, or you will be punished.

  1. After ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when these begin an answer.

Exam­ple: Yes, I’m going to town.

No, it’s not late.

Com­mas are not used in a clause that specif­i­cally iden­ti­fies the noun.

Com­mas are not used in a clause that specif­i­cally iden­ti­fies the noun.

Exam­ples: This is the book which I was given for Christmas.

The teacher spoke to the boy who had misbehaved.

Diction PART-2

In pre­vi­ous post we came to know the mean­ing of dic­tion which is noth­ing but proper choice of words. In Eng­lish, we can find many words that have sim­i­lar mean­ing, but can­not be used inter­change­ably. In such sit­u­a­tions, a choice must be made accord­ing to the gram­mat­i­cal situation.we have already seen some exam­ples of some pairs of such words which are really con­fus­ing while usage. From this arti­cle let us know more pairs of such words that we usu­ally con­fuse very much at the time of usage.

Diction- spoken English

Dic­tion– spo­ken English

  • Hanged/Hung

They both are cor­rect past par­tici­ple forms of the verb hang.But:

Hanged refers to exe­cu­tions (killing) of persons.

Eg: The mur­derer was hanged to death.


Hung refers to things.

Eg: The pic­ture was hung over the fireplace.


  • Advice: A noun

Eg: My father gave me an advice to pur­sue post-graduation.

Advise:  A verb

Eg: The doc­tor advised him to take nutri­tious food.

  • Adapt: make suitable

Eg: Nov­els are adapted for the stage.

Adopt: take a child as one’s own.

Eg: Mr.Ramesh adopted a son.

  • Allu­sion: reference

Eg: The allu­sion that I’m stingy is a mistake.

Illu­sion: false notion

Eg: I don’t have illu­sions about her ability.

  • Ami­able: Pleas­ant and good-tempered

Eg: Radha is quite an ami­able person.

Ami­ca­ble: friendly

Eg: The dis­pute was quite seri­ous and there­fore could not be set­tled amicably.

  • Appo­site: relevant

Eg: His speech was appo­site to the occasion.

Oppo­site: contrary

Eg: Heavy is the oppo­site of light.

  • Beside: by the side of

Eg: The mother sat beside him.

Besides: in addi­tion to

Eg: Is any­one com­ing besides you?

  • Child­ish:  silly

Eg: I don’t like his child­ish behaviour

  • Child­like: innocent
  • Eg: Gand­hiji always put on a child­like smile on his lips.
  • Con­fi­dant: per­son with whom one trusts with secrets

Eg: Nehru was a con­fi­dant of Gand­hiji in polit­i­cal matters.

Con­fi­dent: to be sure

Eg: I’m less con­fi­dent in the examination.

  • Con­tin­ual: very frequent

Eg: He had con­tin­ual argu­ments with his wife.

  • Con­tin­u­ous: going on with­out a break

Eg: There was a con­tin­u­ous rain yesterday.

  • Deny: ascer­tain some­thing is wrong

Eg: The min­is­ter denied the alle­ga­tion that  he had taken bribe.

  • Refuse: decline to take some­thing that is offered to or to do some­thing that one is asked to do

Eg: He refused the money given as bribe.

  • His­toric: famous or impor­tant in history

Eg: Our strug­gle for free­dom is his­toric as many a leader sac­ri­ficed his life.

  • His­tor­i­cal: per­tain­ing to history

Eg: Our pro­fes­sor is engaged in his­tor­i­cal research about pyramids.

  • Inge­nious: clever at organising

Eg: As he is very inge­nious, he can invent more sci­en­tific marvels.

  • Ingen­u­ous: art­less, frank

Eg: Lucy’s love for her daugh­ter is ingenuous.

  • Lux­u­ri­ous: hav­ing luxuries

Eg: Rich peo­ple live in lux­u­ri­ous lines.

  • Lux­u­ri­ant: rich in growth

Eg: There is a rich growth of veg­e­ta­tion on the farm.

  • Ver­bal: relat­ing to words

Eg: Man alone is capa­ble of ver­bal communication.

  • Ver­bose: wordy

Eg: Dur­ing the Vic­to­rian era, writ­ers used a ver­bose style in their works.

  • Dis­in­ter­ested: free from bias or prej­u­dice, free­dom from per­sonal or self­ish motives.
  • Unin­ter­ested: lack­ing in interest

Eg: A judge must be dis­in­ter­ested in the case, but he should not be uninterested.

  • Prophecy: pre­dic­tion

Eg: The man’s prophecy about a ter­ri­ble earth­quake turned out to be false.

  • Proph­esy: to predict

Eg: He proph­e­sised the end of earth.

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