May 5: Use active voice

A look at how to use the active and passive voice.

Source: Plain Language
Published: October 2020

Use active voice

Active voice makes it clear who is doing what. It eliminates ambiguity about responsibilities. Passive voice obscures who is responsible for what.

  Passive Voice

  • The document about delighting customers was written by the company.

  • The video was streamed on Twitch.

  • The Climate Pledge was signed.

  Active Voice

  • Zappos wrote the document about delighting customers.

  • Zhang streamed the video on Twitch.

  • 105 companies have signed the Climate Pledge.

Bonus: Use the Zombie test: If you can add “…by Zombies” at the end of a sentence, rephrase it to use active voice. 

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