Friday, June 23, 2006

Furthering my personal agenda...

An article in Monday's office newsletter:

Writing tip of the week: Passive Voice

Simply put, using passive voice usually means leaving out the “doer” of the sentence. Examples:
Ÿ It would be greatly appreciated (Who is doing the great appreciating?)
Ÿ Money was donated (Who did the donating?)
Ÿ The road was crossed (Who crossed it? Was it the chicken?)

Using passive voice weakens the connection between the “doer” and what s/he did. This can be a good, yet slimy, maneuver if you are a politician who does not want to be linked with an unsavory event. For example: “Laws were passed limiting a woman’s access to emergency contraception.” Who passed these laws? Who do we hold responsible?

But, this is also an unwise choice of wording when the “doer” wants to be credited with the action. Example: “167 people were served.” Who served them? Who did this wonderful thing? Stand up and take credit for what you did!

By carefully choosing when and where we use passive voice, we can make our writing both more effective and more flattering!

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