What is Active Voice and Passive Voice?

In English grammar, there are two type voices, one is active and another is passive. In active voice, the subject performs the action expressed by the verb. For example, ‘Harry reads the novel in one day’. In passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed by the verb. For instance, ‘The novel was read by Harry in one day’.

In order to determine the active voice or passive voice in a sentence, look for the subject and analyze whether the subject is performing an action or being acted upon. If the subject does an action to an object, then it is an active voice. If the subject is the receiver of the action, then it is known as a passive voice. It is a true fact that sentences written in the active voice are simple and easier to understand, whereas sentences written in the passive voice are complex and confusing. Passive voice should be used when you want to stress the action, not the subject.

Active Voice

According to English grammar, active voice refers to a sentence in which the subject does an action indicated by the verb. In simple words, active voice describes a sentence where the subject acts stated by the verb.

Examples of active voice

1. Jennifer ate five pieces of pizza at dinner.
2. I keep the cake in the fridge.
3. The student wrote a poem.
4. You are making too much noise.
5. Many tourists visit the Niagara Falls every year.

Passive Voice

Passive voice refers to a sentence in which the verb performs upon a noun or subject, which receives the action. In short, passive voice explains a sentence where the subject is acted upon by the verb.

Examples of passive voice

1. At dinner, five pieces were eaten by Jennifer.
2. The cake is kept in the fridge.
3. A poem was written by the student.
4. Too much noise is being made by you.
5. The Niagara Falls is visited by thousands of tourists every year.

What are modals? Explain with examples.

A modal refers to a type of auxiliary verb or helping verb, which is used with other verbs to show possibility, obligation, ability, advice or permission. Modals give extra information about the function of the main verb that follows it. Some of the features of modal verbs are listed below:

•    Modal verbs never change their form (spelling).
•   They have no infinitive or participle (past/present).
•  They are primarily used to express possibility, certainty, obligation, necessity, willingness and ability.
•    The modal ‘must’ and ‘can’ need substitute verb in order to express ability or obligation in different tenses.

Types of Modals and Semi-Modals

•    Can/Could/Be able to
•    Will/Would
•    Must/Have to
•    May/Might
•    Shall/Should

Examples of Modal

1.    Can
•    I can speak Spanish (Ability)
•    Can you help me? (Request)
•    Can I go to the club? (Permission)

2.    Could
•    I could speak Spanish (Ability to do- past tense)
•    Could you help me? (Request- past tense)
•    Could I go to the club, please? (Polite question)

3.    Will
•    Will you please be quiet? (Request)
•    I will stop drinking. (Promise)
•    I think he will come back soon. (Prediction, Assumption)

4.    Would
•    Would you please pick up the phone? (Request)
•    I would do anything for you. (Promise)
•    Would she be the one who ruined her life?  (Prediction)

5.    Must
•    I must go to the hospital today. (Necessity or Force)
•    You must see the beautiful birds. (Advice, Recommendation)
•    I must go now. (Obligation)

6.    May
•    May I help you? (Polite suggestion)
•    May I go to the movie? (Permission)
•    It may rain tomorrow (Possibility

7.    Might
•    Sherry said she might come. (Possibility – past tense)
•    It might be his last chance to pass the test (Possibility)
•    Might I suggest an idea? (Polite permission)

8.    Should
•    You should walk slowly in a rainy weather. (Advice)
•    Should I call a doctor (Suggestion)
•    I shouldn’t be late. The bus generally arrives on time. (Expectation)

What is Narrative Writing and its Types

Narrative writing is a form of writing in which a writer narrates a story to the audience. Narrative writing form is divided into fiction and nonfiction. Fiction is entirely based on imaginative stories and events, which are not real and did not happen ever, but on the other hand nonfiction writing is based on the real facts, real people and events. The nonfiction writing form is widely used in newspapers, reports, essays, etc.

The primary objective of narrative writing is to entertain and to capture the attention of the audience. Narrative writing is a piece of writing that includes a main character, setting, conflict, plot and theme. In a story, characterization indicates who are the main characters and what do they look like? Setting explains where and when will the story take place? A conflict is an essential part of the story that describes the struggle of the character. Besides, a plot has a beginning, middle and end sequence that helps a reader to understand what is going to happen. The middle of the story is the most important part, which describes what the story is all about. Moreover, the theme is the message that a writer wants to convey to the audience.

Types of Narrative Writing

Narrative writing can be categorized into factual or imaginary. It can be a combination of both factual and imaginary. According to the English literature, narrative writing is divided into fables, fairy stories, mysteries, romances, horror stories, personal experience, adventure, etc. Let us understand different forms of narrative writing in detail.

•  Captivity Narrative: This form of writing describes human emotions. The captivity narrative story revolves around the people and their problems.
•  Short Story: This form of story explains a single character and an event.
•  Folktale: Folktale is the story that tells some hidden truths about life or something that occurs in nature.
•  Fable: Fable is an interesting way of giving a message to the audience. In a fable, animal characters act like people to give a lesson to the readers.
•  Fantasy: It is a story that includes imaginary characters and events.
•  Realistic Fiction: Based on the real events and incidents, this type of story includes characters and settings.
•   Biography: A biography is the story of a famous personality.
•   Autobiography: A story or personal experience of a writer’s own life.
•   News: Based on the current events and incidents, the news is presented through TV, internet, radio and print forms to the audience.

Tips and Techniques for Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is a literary device, which gives a clear and concise description of people, objects, places and events using appropriate details.  Through descriptive writing, a writer describes the place in such a way that a reader actually feels and imagines the thing with the help of his or her five senses. A good description usually contains adequate information that motivates a reader to make a connection with the use of sensory details, which includes seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting.

In a descriptive writing, figurative language such as similes, metaphors and analogies are also used to draw a picture in the mind of a reader. Besides this, the writer uses specific nouns and adjectives and strong action verbs in order to make the story more interesting and lively for the readers. Let us understand the techniques for writing a good descriptive story.

Descriptive Writing Techniques

1.    Topic: The first and foremost part of a descriptive writing is your topic. Choose a topic that is familiar and you can explain it well. Make sure that you have sufficient details about the topic that you are going to write about.

2.    Describe the main theme in an organized manner:  Explain your story in a chronological order, including time, location and order of importance. If you are describing about a person, then start with his or her physical description, how he or she thinks, feels and behaves.

3.    Use strong words: While writing about a person, event, place or an object, you must use suitable adjectives to make your writing more appealing to the readers. For example, if you are describing a place, then mention its natural beauty and climate so as to paint a picture in a reader’s mind. This will help a reader to explore the place through his senses.

4.   Use sensory details: Needless to say, human beings learn about everything through their five senses. Hence, it is important to include sensory details so as to involve readers in your story. Describe how does your object or subject smell, what does it taste, what does it feel when touched, how does it sound like and how does it look like?

5.  Proofread: Re-read what you had described in your story. Read like a reader and check whether you are able to connect with the story by using your five senses. Besides, while reading you can also figure out whether you need to add more details in your writing.

How to Write a Business Letter

A business letter is a formal letter that is intended for official communication. It can be categorized into various forms like persuasive, promotional, informational and motivational. A business letter usually contains simple, concise and to the point message. The format of a business letter is quite different from an informal letter. Some useful steps are discussed below that will help you to understand how to write a good business letter.

•    Mention Sender’s Address: In business letters, it is important to include the sender’s address. If you are using letterhead, then make sure it contains the address of the sender at the top of the page. In case you are not using letterhead, then write the sender’s address at the top, left hand side of the page.

•    Date: The date line is used to identify the exact date the letter was written. If you are writing a letter to a US based company, then you can use American date format. For examples, October 10, 2015.

•    Recipient Address: The next line begins with the recipient address that should be written one line below the sender’s address and one inch below the date. The recipient address should be mentioned at the right hand side. It is essential to use the title of the person to whom you are writing a letter.

•    Subject: After the recipient address, start a line with a subject. In the subject section, mention the purpose of writing in few words. Make sure that the subject line should be written in capital letters.

•    Salutation: The next line should be salutation part, which should come just below the subject line. If you know the person, address them by their first name. If you don’t know the person, then address them with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’.

•    Body: The body is the main section of the letter. In this section, a sender needs to explain the purpose of writing. Since it is a business letter, you need to be very careful while writing. Mention the main purpose in a few lines and make sure that your message should be conveyed to the concerned person in a clear and concise manner. If required, you can enclose necessary documents along with the letter.

•    Closing: The closing line begins with suggested actions or promises. It is written one line after the last body paragraph. The line ends with ‘Thanking you’ in which the first letter should be capitalized. In addition to this, the final line should be the sender’s name, which is generally mentioned above the words ‘Yours Faithfully’ or ‘With Regards’.

English Grammar