Tag Archives: passive voice


Government and scientific writing is usually done in this really bizarre institutional voice. You know the one I mean; you’ve read it and struggled with it, even if you’ve never deliberately tried to write it. It’s a weird, hyper-formalized, passive-verbed, long-winded writing style that you discovered had invaded your own writing when you were just […]

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

One of the annoying aspects of writing for a government is that usually there are plots, but no characters, main or otherwise. In fact, there are often no subjects in the sentences. Things happen, events unfold spontaneously. Objects are acted upon by mysterious forces, perhaps deployed by black helicopters. The passive voice is used excessively. […]