Passive vs. active voice in business writing

What is the difference between them? The passive voice emphasizes the person or object receiving the action e. The active voice, in contrast, emphasizes the person or object performing the action e.

Passive vs. active voice in business writing

Janet In certain disciplines of science, passive voice is used to avoid overusing or using at all we or I. This is not the same thing as the passive voice being the expected style; you can often avoid using we and still use the active voice, and you should do so except if the passive voice is preferable for other reasons.

passive vs. active voice in business writing

You are still likely to end up with writing that uses the passive voice more often than would be ideal. The first three points are valid and important, I think; the fourth strikes me as being irrelevant at best.

The crucial common element embedded in the first three defenses is the author's conscious and well-conceived decision to use passive voice. In my experience, such intentionality is rare. More often, an author falls into passive voice unwittingly and repeatedly in situations where doing so does nothing to supply a desirable emphasis or to promote structural variety.

The latter is a bit shorter than the former, and avoids relegating the actor in the sentence the FBI's Washington Field Office to a participial phrase; the result to my ear sounds crisper and cleaner. But this is all a matter of taste, I suppose, since the sentence does eventually identify the actor and attribute the action to that actor.

The worst fault of passive voice is that all too often it serves to deliver action without an actor. One could argue that Reagan chose this wording because he wanted to emphasize the politically fraught concession implied by the word "mistakes"; but the formulation also has the convenient characteristic of failing to identify a source of the mistakes: The sentence identifies a result and an action, but no actor in the non—Ronald Reagan sense of the word.

Though Reagan's formulation surely represents a thoughtful and tactical use of passive voice, many instances of actorless sentences do not.

Consider this extended exercise in passivity: When the cost of proposals is born by the business side of the house, frivolous proposals are stopped, proposals are better prioritized, and what is proposed is more likely to have a true ROI to the business, reducing waste and abandoned projects.

The first passive-voice element "is born" has an identified actor "the business side of the house"but the next three "are stopped," "are prioritized," and "is proposed" do not.

Purdue OWL // Purdue Writing Lab

A reader slogging through this sentence must either struggle to identify the unnamed actors the allocation of cost to the business side "stops" frivolous proposals, the receivers of proposals [presumably managers] "prioritize" them, and the makers of proposals [presumably lower-level staffers] "propose" them or—as is much more likely—skate over the surface of the sentence without really comprehending it.

The following reformulation of the sentence is far likelier to make sense to a reader: Requiring the business side of the house to bear the cost of proposals discourages staffers from submitting frivolous proposals, encourages managers to give priority to the most promising suggestions, and increases the likelihood that proposals will offer a legitimate return on investment, thereby reducing waste and lowering the incidence of abandoned projects.

The revised sentence is significantly longer than the original, but that's a price I'm willing to pay if it yields a sentence that identifies who is doing what, rather than leaving that task to each reader. Finally, actorless passive voice often crops up in situations where the unnamed actor responsible for the action in a sentence is in fact the author.

In these instances, obscuring the author as the source of the action promotes a sense of the objective truth of the assertion. The company simply "could not be contacted.Strong Verbs Strong Voice: A quick reference to improve your writing and impress readers [Ann Everett] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

THE POWER OF VERBS!! Without verbs, where would a story go? Nowhere. Characters, animals, and nature can’t be or do anything without a verb. Characters can’t laugh. English as a Second Language (ESL) for Teachers and Students.

Active and passive voice exercise

Whether you are a teacher looking for ESL teaching materials, a beginner who's just starting out, or an advanced student who wants to hone and polish reading comprehension, conversation, and writing .

A postulate is like the opening bid for cognition--you suggest to yourself, or your scientific research group, a beginning concept for a range of phenomena with a "let's wait and see what follows from the concept" attitude of openness. Grammarly's free writing app makes sure everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free.

When using active voice, the subject performs the action noted by the main verb. (As one site put it, the subject is a do-er or a be-er.) When using the passive voice, the subject is acted upon.

Do You Need a Passive Voice Checker? Most writing will expect you to use the “active voice” rather than “passive voice”. Usually, when we discuss something, the thing or person taking the action will come first followed by the verb and then the thing that is acted upon.

Sentences are given in the active voice. Change them into the passive voice. Answers 1. English is taught by him. 2. Bananas are being eaten.

Clear, Concise Sentences: Use the active voice