Don Jones

Tech | Career | Musings

Using passive voice isn’t wrong, not in any way. In fact, most of your college writing courses probably preferred it. It’s just awkward outside the college setting, and it makes your writing bloody hard to read for non-native speakers of English. So go active.

Passive: The computer is configured to have a strong password requirement. 

Active: I configured a strong password requirement for the computer.

In that example, the active voice adds a subject – I – to the verb configured. It tells us who is doing the configuring, not merely that it has been done. I also took the opportunity to remove the always-awkward “to have” phrase.

In short, active voice speaks of someone or something doing something, rather than speaking – as in passive voice – of the thing simply having been done. For me, the easy way to remember it is to “put a human in the sentence,” which is not always the case, but it’s a good memory aid.

Categories: Rant

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