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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Employ Active Verbs

Anyone who has ever written an email that has been misunderstood—let alone an MBA application essay—is no doubt aware of the subtleties of language and the nuances that can change a message’s meaning. Indeed, you can enliven a basic sentence simply by choosing more active verbs.

For example, consider the verb “earn.” By using “earn” rather than a more passive verb in the following examples, we can alter the meaning and impact of each sentence. Suddenly, you are in control. Suddenly, you worked hard and, as a result, accomplished great things.

Passive/poor example: “I was promoted from junior to senior analyst.”
Active/good example: “I earned a promotion from junior to senior analyst.”

Passive/poor example: “After being awarded my MBA, I will be able to…”
Active/good example: “After earning my MBA, I will be able to…”

Once you have finished your application essays, review them to see how often you can replace certain words with “earn” or a similar verb—such as “achieve,” “gain,” and “attain”—that denotes action on your part.



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