Avoid Passive Voice

“[A]n official from the General Services Administration presented Franklin Roosevelt with a copy of a notice that would be placed in every room of every government office across the land. The bureaucrat read this aloud to the president: IT IS OBLIGATORY THAT ALL ILLUMINATION BE EXTINGUISHED BEFORE THE PREMISES ARE VACATED” (Humes 155).

“Roosevelt, known for his clear communication, wryly replied, Why the hell can’t you say “Put out the lights when you leave”? [sic]” (Humes 157).


“The acronym ‘WHAB’ can help you find words that sound a warning bell for potential overuse of the passive” (Humes 158).

Humes, James C. Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln. Three Rivers Press.

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