Now tell me please, how does someone as assertive as I am, too frequently write in a passive voice? I write as it flows from my finger to the keyboard. I’m finished with the first draft when I type the last word. Then, I clean it up later. What my friends in a writers group I attend point out after I read a chapter, “I heard some passives in there.”
What is a passive voice? Here is an example:
If it could have been written by a better writer, it would have been.
A little saying I give to psychotherapy clients is: “If you could’ve, you would’ve. But, you couldn’t so you didn’t.” Now, that is not passive, but it is assertive.
After writing four novels, I finally found a way to spot passives quickly. It’s all thanks to the WORD 2010 magic little check box. Here it is. In a document:
1. Click “File”
2. Click “Options” at the bottom
3. Click “Proofing” on the left
4. Under Correcting Spelling and Grammar in WORD, go down to Writing Style: Click “Settings”
5. Scroll down to Style
6. Click Passive Sentences
I wrote: Your passive sentences will be underlined for you. In my Spell Check — “will be underlined” —was UNDERLINED. So let me fix that. The program will underline the passive sentences for you.
I know you have already found this great aid to writing. If you haven’t, try it. Happy writing.
Doris Gaines Rapp
Copyright 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp