Shift in voice
(see also Active/Passive Voice)
Whenever possible, prefer active verb voice in sentence construction, but if the passive voice is more appropriate, do not mix active and passive voice in the same sentence. In the following example, the use of the passive voice (was arranged by) is appropriate:
The song that our chorus sang for the finale was arranged by Don Gray.
However, in this next example, the verb voice is mixed, producing an awkward sentence:
The videotape was watched by the chorus while our director critiqued the performance.
Prefer the following revision:
As the chorus members watched the videotape, our director critiqued the performance.
Shift in person
Pronouns are often categorized as first person (I), second person (you), or third person (he). Keep the point of view consistent. The following two sentences mix the points of view.
|Shift||Everyone should report to your hotel room by 6:00 p.m.|
|Revised ||Everyone should report to his hotel room by 6:00 p.m.|
|Shift||If you try hard enough, a person can learn to sing this arrangement.|
|Revised||If you try hard enough, you can learn to sing this arrangement.|
If one tries hard enough, one can learn to sing this arrangement.
Shift in tense (time)
Keep the verb tenses (time) consistent in terms of past and present. Note the following example and its revision:
| Shift||We drove around Kansas City in Herb's van for what seems like hours, and then we find we have taken a wrong turn and are heading toward Wichita.|
|Revised||We drove around Kansas City in Herb's van for what seemed like hours, and then we found we had taken a wrong turn and were heading toward Wichita.|
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