As you read news, be hyper-aware of passive voice headlines

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The New York Times tweeted this over the weekend: At this moment in time, there are hidden stories in the choices that headline writers write. An active voice headline tells who did what. Two of these headlines are passive. A passive voice headline tells what happened, but hides the who. Minneapolis: A photographer was shot … Continued

Passive voice editorials flinch from the truth

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One of the most pernicious of pieces on the opinion pages of our newspapers is the passive voice editorial, which pleads that something must be done — but doesn’t suggest who should do it. That’s particularly worrisome during the current pandemic, because we already know that things are screwed up and people are dying. We … Continued

Edit yourself. It’s cheaper and it makes you smarter.

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You wrote something. It’s not the best it can be. You could hire an editor. Or you could fix it yourself. Sure, if you can’t really figure out what you’re saying, you might need outside help. But before you do, try these tricks: Make sentences shorter. Find sentences of more than 20 words. Break them … Continued

The Equifax $125 settlement is yet another lie

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Two years ago, Equifax blamed an “application vulnerability” for a “cybersecurity incident” that exposed personal data of 143 million consumers. Last week, it agreed to pay $125 to any affected person who asks for it. Unfortunately, that’s another lie. Here’s what it says on the Equifax Breach Settlement site: Welcome To The Equifax Data Breach … Continued

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