Editorial Help Desk

YOUR TRUSTED SOURCE FOR GRAMMAR AND MCPS STYLE

 

Don't rule out using the passive voice

It's been drummed into our heads that the active voice is always better than the passive voice in our writing. That is not always the case, however. 

Ask yourself if the subject of the sentence the focus of your discussion? If not, make some changes. So...

Instead of writing

He installed a fence around the pool for safety.

It's more accurate to write this

A fence was installed around the pool for safety.

The passive voice works best when the fence is the focus of the sentence, not he.

 

Instead of writing

Someone deleted the data to divert attention from the problem

It's more accurate to write this

The data was deleted to divert attention from the problem.

The passive voice works best when the data is the focus, not Ann.

 

As always, when in doubt, check it out! Contact the Editorial Help Desk for help (Donna_M_Marks Pleasant@mcpsmd.org) or call 240-740-2971.

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