Anonymous ASKED:
I'm hooked on using the word "seen" in my essays when analyzing poetry, as in "England's economic state can be seen in the poem..." My professor keeps advising me not to use "seen", and now I'm frustrated because I have no idea what to use as an alternative. Help? D:


Firstly, passive voice has trapped you in this instance, and you’d benefit from breaking free and using active voice instead.


So, in your example:

England’s economic state can be seen in the poem…

The target (England’s economic state) of the action (seen) becomes the subject of the sentence (which should be “poem”).

Academic writing tends to frown upon passive voice. There’s an easy fix, however, and it’ll help you reduce your dependence on the word “seen” and strengthen your essay. Here:

The poem demonstrates England’s economic state…

The poem capitalizes upon England’s economic state…

The poem flaunts England’s economic state…

Okay, don’t use “flaunt”. I don’t think your professor will appreciate that.

Or, who knows.

I guess it depends on the poem in question.

But, anyway, in active voice, you have a greater command of the sentence, and the subject of your sentence is solid and clear and holds all the power. Your professor is likely to be much more pleased with this.

Thanks for the question! Good luck!

  1. keyboardsmashwriters posted this