Flaming idiocy in the passive voice in Ridgefield, Connecticut

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Somebody did something dumb in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Here’s the text of a post from the town’s official Facebook page: There as been an incident in town that we want make citizens aware of. A RHS baseball game at Governor Park was delayed due to weather conditions on the field this morning. A poor decision was … Continued

Wow Air shutdown shows why “you’re screwed” is passive voice

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Without warning, the Icelandic airline Wow Air has suspended all its flights while seeking additional financing. There is no better illustration of how companies use passive voice to evade blame than its message to passengers. By writing in the passive voice, Wow Air makes it sound as if this is some unfortunate and unforeseen circumstance … Continued

Alabama.com posts article completely in passive voice. Learn from it.

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Passive voice is so pervasive in news articles that an Alabama.com reporter, writing about a domestic violence shooting, managed to write nearly a whole article in it. In Hoover, Alabama, people get shot, investigated, transported, and placed on leave but it’s a mystery who did any of this stuff. I recommend articles like this as … Continued

Airline pilots who hate the shutdown must be more direct

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The head of the Air Line Pilots Association sent a letter to President Trump warning of the government shutdown’s impact on safety. It’s sobering, especially when you strip out the passive, military-jargon-laden language and clarify what they’re really saying. The ALPA is a union that represents 61,000 pilots including those flying for Delta and American. … Continued

Antipodes Pride’s pusillanimous, passive, pointless police press release

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The Auckland, New Zealand police and Auckland Pride, an LGBTQ support organization, were unable to come to an agreement about police marching in the Pride parade. They did, however, produce one of the most oblique, passive, and ultimately pointless media releases ever posted. This is what happens when you’re not sure what to say, but … Continued

An editor’s notebook: Analyzing and untangling sentences

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One of the editor’s primary jobs is to make sentences say what they mean. When the prose gets in the way of the ideas, fix the prose. A focus on the subjects and verbs in sentences can help make prose clearer and reduce the cognitive load on the reader. These examples come from a book … Continued

Fixing the passive Presidential Alert

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Like several hundred million other Americans, I received a lump of passive voice in the form of a Presidential Alert yesterday. This was a huge time waster. So I fixed it. I was out at a farmers’ market when all of our phones and radios started hooting and whining. People got annoyed and kept shopping. … Continued