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Verb moods

Another aspect to bear in mind when using verbs is that they have not only parts, but there also is the aspect called verb moods: the active mood, the passive mood and the subjunctive mood.

We won’t go into details about the subjunctive mood here, but let’s consider the former two, which are sometimes interchangeable. This gives a writer other power options to play with:

In the active mood the subject is the doer -> he is the powerful one
In the passive mood he merely gets done -> he is the weak one

So as a writer, whenever a passive presents itself, we need to find words that can express our thoughts in a stronger manner. Can you turn your words around without altering the sense?

“He fought them to the last, but finally was shot down by his enemies.”
“He fought them to the last. But finally his enemies they shot him down.”

In the second example it is as if you can even hear the shots, right?

Here is an extra example, referring to the verb's participle form in '-ing', which you can use to sharpen your ear.

When you use a verb ending in ‘-ing’ (as in working, running, laughing, etc.) you are expressing a state: the ‘state’ of running, the situation in which that person or animal is in, not the actual act of running. So the '-ing' form is less dramatic and less powerful.

“Running down the road he threw a stone at a passing fox.”
“A fox passed him as he ran down the road. He threw a stone at it.”

Can you feel, or hear the difference? If not, then you need some reading exercises before you can in turn play with the wording of your thoughts.

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