Curing Passive Voice

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When we overuse the passive voice, our writing becomes lifeless.  Active voice makes us sound alive and reaches out to the reader. When you use the active voice, the subject is usually a person or thing performing the action. In the passive voice, the subject is the receiver of the action.

Try this three-step cure for passive voice sickness . . .

Passive voice baseball example

Put the actor (the doer) before the verb

This: The coach will choose the team.

Not: The team will be chosen by the coach.

 

This: Some parents will be angry.

Not: The parents will be angered by this.

 

Drop part of the verb

This: The team list is on the wall.

Not: The team list was posted on the wall.

 

This: His daughter’s name wasn’t on the list.

Not: His daughter’s name wasn’t included on the list

Change the verb

This: The daughter is not discouraged.

Not: The daughter had not been disillusioned

 

This: The uniforms have not arrived yet.

Not: The uniforms have not been received yet.

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