Passive sentences often contain the word “to be” or “to be” and a past participle. In this example it is therefore about ‘is’ + ‘laid’. Besides the fact that this language makes the sentence longer, the passive form is not recommended for another reason. In passive sentences you often miss the person who is performing an action.
- The article is being finalized .
Who is putting the finishing touches to the article? ‘Elsemieke’ has disappeared here. This makes the sentence impersonal and/or distant.
Making passive sentences active
To make a passive sentence Training Directors Email Lists active, it can therefore help to ask yourself: ‘by whom?’ The answer to the question is the subject you can use for your active sentence. OnzeTaal also shares a nice example, in which you can clearly see this difference:
- I will contact you within 3 working days.
- You will be contacted within 3 days.
In addition to unnecessary passive
Language use, we often see woolly or unnecessary language in the editorial office. Sentences that can be a lot shorter, without changing the meaning of the sentence. Or unnecessary difficult words, when you are known to ‘ seem stupid when you use difficult words ‘. At least using difficult words won’t make you seem smarter.
Partly trends, partly popular language, but also partly just the author’s own preference or writing style: together with the editors we have collected a few examples of woolly language.
Which sentence appeals to you more? Even though it’s only such a small difference. Occasional use of a passive or passive sentence in your text is of course no problem. Sometimes it just reads really nice as a change. Or does it suit your writing style. But if you want to keep the text smooth and short, I would recommend to delete it where possible.
I also regularly catch myself using passive sentences. When you are enjoying writing, you think about it less ‘actively’. Only in the final editing do you find out that it can be a lot more active. Always read your text!