Clear Technical Writing
Clear Action

Action Star 1

Clarity in a sentence can be achieved by unveiling subjects and verbs, looking closely at the words, digging deep into the sentence.

Another way to achieve this clarity is to step away from your sentence to see the big picture. Imagine your sentence in large letters on a movie screen. Now imagine it's a single-sentence movie script, and ask yourself two questions:

      (1) Who is the Leading Star?

      (2) What is the Main Action?

Consider this single-sentence movie script:

This report is an explanation of our work.

Sit back in the theater and smile at your words on the big screen. Now answer your two questions: "The Leading Star is report, and the Main Action is explain."

This report is an explanation of our work.

This Leading Star is now ready for its crystal-clear closeup.

This report explains our work.

Here, a form of the verb to be was part of the problem, as depicted in this generic formula:

Star is
[Action] of X

The brackets indicate that the Action is often contained inside a word that bottles up the expressive power of the verb.

There are other common generic formulas.


[Action] of Star is X

The conclusion of the team is that we succeeded.

The team concluded that we succeeded.

it is
[Action] of Star that X

It is the conclusion of the team that we succeeded.

The team concluded that we succeeded.

Edit your writing by highlighting Leading Stars and Main Actions.

The first page is a description of the purpose. Divisions of the document are by product line. It is the contention of our team that the plan is complete.

The first page describes the purpose. The document is divided by product line. Our team contends that the plan is complete.

Lesson: Action Star 1
Module: Clear Action
Course: Clear Technical Writing