The sentence, “In my opinion, passive writing is bad,” exemplifies the passive voice.
The active voice says, “Kill passive writing.” My title proclaims this.
By nature, my words, both spoken and written, are passive. Many years ago, I became so irritated with Microsoft Word pointing out the passive sentences that I turned off the option. I concluded passivity was just my style. My writing voice was passive, so people needed to accept it and stop criticizing me for it.
In retrospect, I avoided the reality that my writing needed work.
Now I’m again checking for passive phrases and attacking them.
Sometimes passive writing is easy to fix. For the rest of the time, editing out passiveness is hard; often I end up with a sentence that is longer or less clear.
So, if fixing a passive sentence makes it stronger or easier to read, I gladly do it. For the rest, I’ll make an effort to fix them but am willing to retain some on occasion.
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!