Which sentence do you like better?
- A PowerPoint presentation was given by the CEO.
- The CEO gave a PowerPoint presentation.
Both sentences relay the same information. So why do you like the second one better?
- The first sentence is longer. It uses the passive voice.
- The second sentence is shorter. It uses the active voice.
When I listen to speakers who almost exclusively rely upon the passive voice, I go a little bonkers. Why?
The passive voice is mushy and weaselly. It signals that the speaker is trying to hide something. When someone says, “Mistakes were made ,” I instantly want to spring up and scream, “By whom?”
If one more benefit shakes out of using Twitter, let it be a giant reduction in people using the passive voice. Active voice is shorter, swifter, and more powerful. It takes responsibility. It’s the stronger, nobler choice.
I have no idea why so many presenters use the passive voice. Do you?
And what are your grammatical presentation pet peeves?
(Of course, it might be a fun exercise to write your blog comments, exclusively using the passive voice. That might help me exorcise my peevishness!)