When I was making my way through the education system back in the States, I would constantly be having papers returned with notes on them yelling at me to not use passive voice. At the time I lacked any teachers who were able to explain to me how to avoid this mortal sin of writing. Back then, I wish I knew the secret I’m about to share with you.
I’m sure you’re aware that Microsoft Word has spelling and grammar check, but did you know that these default to only the basic settings? You can also have it check your document for style. I was amazed when I found out that I could have Word check my documents for passive voice, among other advanced editing and style features.
To enable these features you need to have all the Microsoft Word updates installed and then do the following:
Microsoft Word 2007: Press the Office Button in the top left corner; choose “Word Options” at the bottom of the drop down menu. Choose the “Proofing” option on the left-hand side. Then in the “Writing and Style” dropdown, choose “Grammar and Style.” You can either use the default options, or choose “Settings…” to enable or disable specific style options.
Microsoft Word 2003: Open the “Tools” menu and choose “Options,” click the “Spelling & Grammar” tab, and then choose “Settings.” In the “Grammar and style options” box, select the check boxes for the rules you want.