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Improving Technical Writing - Use Active Voice

Occasionally we will share a blog post on how to improve your technical writing. This post focuses on using active, rather than passive, voice in your writing. In an active voice sentence, you see this pattern:

actor + verb + target

For example, The boy ate the apple.

The boy is the actor. Ate is the verb. And apple is the target.

This is clear and concise.

In a passive voice sentence the order would be:

target + verb + actor

Writing this sentence in passive voice would look something like this:

The apple was eaten by the boy.

Writing in active voice means recognizing passive verbs. If the person or thing responsible for acting is omitted or occurs in the sentence after the thing that happened, AND if you see a past participle after the form of "to be," it's passive voice.

For example:

The car will be washed by me every weekend.

A better way to write this sentence is:

I will wash the car every weekend.

Using active voice is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your technical writing.


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