clear communication: use the active voice


Ce contenu est offert en anglais seulement.

(A similar topic is discussed in French in the article Communication claire : Privilégiez la voix active.)

While the passive voice is useful in moderation and is common in administrative writing, it tends to be wordy and impersonal. (An example: The form will be sent tomorrow.)

Give preference to the active voice, in which the subject performs the action and is generally near the beginning of the sentence, making it easier for the reader to understand the message. (An example: I will send the form tomorrow.)

Instead of this:

  • It is requested that recommendations be submitted concerning ways and means whereby costs arising out of the use of the facsimile might conceivably be shared by both directorates.

Write this:

  • Please recommend ways in which the two directorates could share the cost of the fax machine.

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