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Tip 21: Finding Passive Voice

Do you have trouble catching passive voice in your writing?

Word can help!
Passive sentences aren’t incorrect: most of the time they just aren’t the best way to phrase your thoughts. Sometimes passive voice is awkward and can obscure meanings, while other times it’s just vague or wordy.

Try this in Microsoft Office Word:

1. Click on the ‘File’ tab.
2. Click on ‘Options’ at the bottom of the left-hand menu.
3. Click on the ‘Proofing’ tab.
4. Next to ‘Writing Style,’ click on ‘Settings.’
5. Scroll Down the page until you get to the ‘Clarity’ section.
6. Select the box for ‘Passive Voice.’
7. Click ‘Ok’ and close out.

Now when you have a sentence written in passive voice, you will be alerted by seeing a squiggly line underneath a passive voice verb phase!