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  1. 1

    Jacquie Withers

    Great article, and the end paragraph was particularly enjoyed by this reader! 🙂 Jacquie

  2. 2


    We have one big rule when we write reports: Use active voice! Leads to much better understanding. Definitely going to update our report writing guideline with some of your comments…

  3. 3

    Caryn Gootkin (in other words)

    Thanks, Neil. Go on, just do it.

  4. 4

    Shaman sans Frontieres

    Nice work, Caryn Gootkin!

  5. 5

    Caryn Gootkin (in other words)

    Thanks, Jacquie. There’s no place for passive long songs.

  6. 6

    Kelli Lunsky

    Don’t even get me started on the way we were forced to write our psych essays, “The author believes…”
    Well done, big sis x

  7. 7

    Caryn Gootkin (in other words)

    And our favourite lawyer who calls himself “the writer”?

  8. 8

    Kelli Lunsky

    Ah! Good ‘Ol Mr
    ‘Whereupon Thereafter’ 🙂

  9. 9


    to the point- as always!

  10. 10

    Neil W

    Found this article and loved it, sharing it. Doing it too.

  11. 11

    Kay Ross

    The sentence “The law came into force in October.” is not passive. The grammatical subject of the sentence is “the law”, and “the law” did something. The verb is in the past tense, but that doesn’t make it passive.

  12. 12

    Caryn Gootkin (in other words)

    You are correct. “The law was promulgated in October” would have been a better example.

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  14. 13

    Nick Wright

    Using active verbs is good writing advice. But your article claims some passives are active (The law came into force in October) and you fail to highlight passive verbs in your examples: (So, insofar as Zimbabwe is concerned) you don’t highlight ‘is concerned’ as passive. Finally, you highlight whole phrases as passive rather than the passive verbs themselves. This just shows how even the ‘experts’ get the passive/active wrong.
    Our StyleWriter software – free trial and demos at // – measures how passive your writing is, shows you exactly where your passive verbs are in your text (100 percent accuracy) and has help screens explaining how to switch passive verbs to active verbs.
    I suggest people use the trial edition of StyleWriter to test their writing for passive and thousands of other ways to write in plain English.
    Nick WrightDesigner of the StyleWriter Software

  15. 14

    Nick Wright


    You are right to point out that “The law came into force in October”. But the author said that it was passive.

    She says:

    You can use the passive if:

    1. The actor is irrelevant;

    The law came into force in October.

    So the example she gives is active. Sorry if I didn’t make this clear in my original post.

    Nick Wright

    Designer of StyleWriter

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