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Use This Tip to

Improve Your Writing

Here’s a quick tip that will greatly strengthen your writing: use the active voice whenever possible. When using active voice, the subject performs the action noted by the main verb. With the passive voice the subject is acted upon. Here are two examples for each.

(Passive voice)

  1. The home visit should be scheduled at a time convenient for the applicant.
  2. The applicant should be informed of the committee’s action as soon as possible.

(Active voice)

  1. Schedule the home visit at a time convenient for the applicant.
  2. Inform the applicant of the committee’s decision as soon as possible.

In the passive voice, the home visit appears to be the subject of the sentence when in fact it is a direct object. Similarly in the second example. Both sentences are weakened in their affect by improper wording.

The active voice makes clear that “you” the reader (or some entity) will schedule a home visit. Both the first and second examples make the subject and direct object clear—which make them easier to read and understand.

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