Inject action into your writing

Active voice leads to crisp writing and less ambiguity.

Active voice leads to crisp writing and less ambiguity

The difference between using active voice versus passive voice isn’t so much a matter of grammar, as it is one of writing style and skill. Analyze good, crisp writing and you’re bound to find a predominance of sentences constructed in active voice. In active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. In contrast, passive voice tells you what happened, but in an impersonal and uninspired way.

Although passive voice does serve a purpose, the writer needs to recognize when and where it’s appropriate and preferable over active voice. More times than not, active voice is the way to go. Take a look at this all-too-common passive voice construction:

What does the writer mean? Who is the writer? Who is doing the encouraging (taking the action)? Is the training mandatory? And what’s the consequence if employees don’t sign up by the end of the year?

These are questions that could have been avoided had the writer used the active voice and taken a moment to think about how to communicate well and, in doing so, eliminate ambiguity. Here are other ways the writer could have composed the sentence, using the active voice:

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