If you're not sure what the passive voice is, the title of this blog post should give you an idea.
In the active voice, someone or something is doing something to someone or something.
In the passive voice, something is being done to someone or something.
Passive voice is bland, weak, and annoying. It's even more annoying when there is no attribution to the action being done. For example:
Who carried the body? Who didn't like the speech? Who remembered the day? I want to know the answers to these questions! Too much passive tense means too much unaccountability, which will eventually bore your readers.
Her excitement woke her up before her alarm. She enjoyed a long, hot shower, then prepared breakfast. Over a plate of eggs and toast she read the newspaper, then headed to the closet to select the perfect interview outfit.
She was woken up by her excitement before her alarm. After a long, hot shower was enjoyed by her, breakfast was prepared. Over a plate of eggs and toast the newspaper was read, and then she headed to the closet so the perfect interview outfit could be selected.
Yikes. Which one of these women would YOU want to hire?
Whether you're writing a book, a speech, or even an email, make sure the passive tense is avoided by you. You could also just avoid the passive tense.
Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.