This week's poll:
What's the best way to write this sentence?
Cell phones are not allowed to be used here.
The usage of cell phones here is not allowed.
Using cell phones here is not allowed.
You may not use cell phones here.
The majority of you got it right: the last sentence is the best choice.
Those of you who have read the first three chapters of my book will know that the first three sentences here are examples of vague or passive writing.
Cell phones are not allowed to be used here. (passive voice: to be used)
The usage of cell phones here is not allowed. (nominalization: the usage of)
Using cell phones here is not allowed. (vague -ing word: using)
In all three sentences, the writer did not state a clear human subject. Although there are times when it's OK to be vague about who is doing what, most of the time it's best to state who is doing what.
Most weak writing can be identified (passive) through the reading of (nominalization) of the first three chapters of my book. Reading (vague -ing word) it now is recommended.
Ask Me a Question
If you have a writing, grammar, style or punctuation question, send an e-mail message to curiouscase at sign hotmail dot com.
Add Your Own Criminal Sentence!
If you find a particularly terrible sentence somewhere, post it for all to see (go here and put it in the Comments section).