Eliminating the Passive Voice

The passive voice deadens writing.

The passive voice complicates meaning unnecessarily.

The passive voice is lazy.

Here are some ways to eliminate it from your writing.

Strategies for Eliminating Be Verbs

1) Change the be verb to a strong verb:

Example: Tony is afraid of notebook checks.

Tony fears notebook checks.

Example: Billy is alarmed by the proximity of the shark.

Billy motors away from the shark.

2) Eliminate the be verb by writing one or more showing sentence.

Example: Alligators are mean.

The alligator, angry at being disturbed, lurched forward and swallowed the boy’s cat. Unsatisfied, the grouchy gator swam circles around the screaming toddler, showing all the while the kitten’s severed head.

3) Combine sentences to eliminate the be verb.

Example: The inefficient time manager is unfulfilled. He heads to bed, disappointed, despite having finished his to do list.

The inefficient time manager heads to bed, unfulfilled, having checked everything off on his unprioritized to do list.

4) Eliminate the entire sentence if its omission does not change the meaning of the passage.

5) Leave the be verb if changing it alters the meaning,diminishes the passage, or makes the structure unworkable.

 

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