Lesson Six: Grammar and Style

Vary your sentence structure - Nothing seems more unsophisticated than an uninterrupted succession of subject-verb constructions. Take a series of sentences like the following as an example: "Moby Dick can symbolize both a manifestation of God or of the ultimate evil.". Here are just a few of the variations you can make:

Combine short sentences - Try reading your paper out loud. If it seems choppy it can likely be remedied by your grouping short sentences into longer, more complex ones. For example:

"Gatsby's obsession with Daisy has deeper implications. He becomes obsessed with escaping his own past."

This would be much stronger if combined:

"Gatsby's obsession with Daisy eventually translates into a yearning to escape his own past."

Don't use passive voice - Plain and simple. It makes your writing weak. 

Bad: "This fact was proven by Napoleon's subsequent actions.

Good: "Napoleon proved this fact through his subsequent actions." The object of the sentence should never be turned into the subject.

Maintain consistency in tense - Don't drift from the present to the past to the conditional (from "he is" to "he was" to "he would have").

Some things to avoid wherever possible:

Next: Lesson Seven: Conclusion