Subjects and verbs must align with one another (as plurals or singulars) in order for a sentence to make sense. A singular subject must align with a singular verb. A plural subject must align with a plural verb. Nouns add an “s” to the singular form verbs remove the “s” from the singular form.
The nurse yells when she is angry.
The nurses yell when they are angry.
The nurse, who eats all of my lunch, yells when she is angry.
There is the nurse. There are the nurses.
Jones and James are at fault.
Neither Jones nor/or James is at fault.
Third Person vs. First person
Use third person to make your writing sound more objective, authoritative, and professional.
- Instead of using: “I,” “we,” “our,” “us,” and “me”
- Use: “one,” “they,” “he,” “she,” “it,” and proper nouns, e.g., “Jane Smith,” “Northwest Medical Center”
First person: When I started working for Valley Medical Center, they were still using paper medical records, and I had to store all of these records in three ring binders.
Third person: Until 2007, Valley Medical Center used paper medical records, which they stored in three ring binders.
First person: We found that the team had less errors when one of our physicians was added to the group.
Third person: Northwest Medical Center’s clinical team had less errors when they added a physician to the group.
Understanding 1st and 3rd Person
Active vs. Passive Voice
Use active voice to make your writing more direct and less wordy. With active voice, the subject is doing the acting. In passive voice, the subject is being acted upon.
Passive: The house was rained on by the cloud.
Active: The cloud rained on the house.
Passive: The ball was kicked by the boy’s foot.
Active: The boy kicked the ball.
Passive: Patient care and diversity are subjects that I have always found interest in.
Active: I’m interested in patient care and diversity.
Using Active/Passive Voice
Run-on Paragraphs and Sentences
Separate your ideas into complete sentences. Do not combine more than two independent clauses per sentence.
Run-on: There are concerns around the sharing of patient data and privacy that individuals need to consider and understand in order to be fully aware of the complications and dangers of privacy hacks, security breaches, and threats to their information, which can be detrimental to the patient, the patient’s family, and the clinic or hospital that deals with the patient’s data.
Corrected: There are concerns around the sharing of patient data and privacy that individuals need to consider and understand. Patients need to be fully aware of the complications and dangers of privacy hacks, security breaches, and threats to their information. These hacks and breaches can be detrimental to the patient, the patient’s family, and the clinic or hospital that deals with the patient’s data.
Last Updated May 9, 2017