Writing and Publishing

Kill Passive Writing

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.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.