Friday, February 21, 2014

Short and Sweet: Eliminate All Passive Verbs

If you use active verbs instead of passive, you can trim your word count and make your writing more powerful. First, review the basics of Active and Passive Verbs. Then, get to work! Eliminate all passive verbs from your writing. The sentences will be shorter, and the meaning will be more clear too. In the examples below, the use of active verbs reduces the word count by 25%.


BEFORE: Mistakes are often made by people. (6 words)
AFTER: People often make mistakes. (4 words)

BEFORE: The king wanted Robin to be caught. (7 words)
AFTER: The king wanted to catch Robin. (6 words)

BEFORE: Narasimha was asked by Veerbhadra to calm down. (8 words)
AFTER: Veerbhadra asked Narasimha to calm down. (6 words)

BEFORE: Surpanakha had her ears cut off by Lakshmana. (8 words)
AFTER: Lakshmana cut off Surpanakha's ears. (5 words)

BEFORE: The giant's foolishness was taken advantage of by Jack. (9 words)
AFTER: Jack took advantage of the giant's foolishness. (7 words)

BEFORE: Sita's behavior was not understood by Rama and his brother. (10 words)
AFTER: Rama and his brother did not understand Sita's behavior. (9 words)

BEFORE: Eve was fooled by the snake into eating the apple. (10 words)
AFTER: The snake fooled Eve into eating the apple. (8 words)

BEFORE: Maricha was shot through the heart with one of Rama’s golden arrows. (12 words)
AFTER: Rama shot Maricha through the heart with a golden arrow. (10 words)

BEFORE: You will be amazed at the things that are revealed in these diaries. (13 words)
AFTER: These diaries reveal things that will amaze you. (8 words)

BEFORE: Menaka was sent by Indra to seduce Vishvamitra, but she was rejected by him. (14 words)
AFTER: Indra sent Menaka to seduce Vishvamitra, but he rejected her. (10 words)

For more strategies to use in reducing your word count while improving your writing, see this list: Short and Sweet Writing Strategies.

Vishwamitra and Menaka by Raja Ravi Varma (1890)
Web Source: Wikipedia

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