October 12th, 2011
Take a look at how active language frees up space in this pair of sentences:
BzzAgent was hired by Black Box last fall … to “increase awareness … and impact sales.”
Black Box hired BzzAgent last fall … to “increase awareness … and impact sales.”
Black Box is a company that sells boxed wine. The first sentence downplays the company through the passive voice, and the second sentence spotlights it with the active voice.
Passive verbs clutter up the first sentence with two unnecessary words: “BzzAgent was hired by Black Box.”
It’s faster and simpler to use active language and discard these unnecessary words: “Black Box hired BzzAgent.”
Concise writing helps you keep readers’ attention, and busy readers appreciate focused sentences.
Write It Well’s book Essential Grammar includes one chapter on sentence mechanics and another on verbs. You’ll learn how to write for maximum impact in all your business documents.
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