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2017年12月19日 星期二

丁酉(鸡)年十一月初二

新闻稿写作技巧:动用主动性动词

主动性动词可以为一篇死气沉沉的新闻稿赋予鲜活的生命力。

Active verbs breathe life into an otherwise dead press release. Strong verbs dance on the page and leap off the computer screen. Although there are times when passive verbs are unavoidable, shun them at all costs.

Let’s start at the basics. A sentence is essentially a subject - something performing the action, followed by a verb - which is the action, and usually there is an object - something that receives the action. For example, “She twirls batons.” She is the subject, twirls is the verb, and batons is the object.

Sentences written in passive voice lack the basic subject-verb-object pattern, rendering the sentences a jumbled mess of boring confusion. Take the example sentence, “She twirls batons.” Now let’s muddle up the sentence by making it passive, “The baton was twirled by her,” or even worse, “The baton was twirled.”

Yuk! We don’t even know who did the alleged twirling in the last example. The subject is conspicuously missing. And as for the other one, it’s probably best described as clunky. Of course, we all know that press releases can’t live on simple sentences alone, but for the purposes of this lesson, let’s just stick to the basics.

Passive voice is the opposite of active voice, which uses action verbs. Passive voice uses “be” verbs such as am, is, was, were, be, being, and been. On the other hand, action verbs spin, skip, and plunge do something other than just exist on the page. Active voice basically means that the subject is first and does the action. “He sang a song,” not, “The song was sung by him.”

Passive voice is wordy. Why? Well, it takes two or three words to say what one action verb can communicate in a single bound. For instance, compare these two sentences:
“The tall building has been leapt by the man,” versus “The man leapt over the tall building.”

How can you go about eliminating the dreaded passive voice from your press releases? Start by going through your draft and highlighting all the “be” verbs. After rooting out the sneaky little critters, dig in and find a way to eliminate at least half of them. Make the conversion from passive voice to active voice by finding the subject of the sentence and putting it first. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit. Combine sentences, rewrite dull sentences, execute those that are only dragging your press release down into the muck.

Don’t become a passive voice maniac by eliminating all the “be” verbs. They do serve a valuable purpose and are definitely necessary. However, we all lean on “be” verbs like a worn out crutch. Remember, there’s a world of full of sparkling actions verbs that will shoot off the page. Take the time to find them.

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