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Improve Your Business Communication (Collection) by Natalie Canavor, Terry J. Fadem, Claire Meirowitz, Jerry Weissman

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Truth 20. Passive thinking and jargon undermine clarity

Kill the passive and commit to action—you’ve probably seen or heard of this concept before, and it’s true: Cut the inactive verbs from your writing wherever you can and you’ll liven up your writing enormously. So what’s inactive? It’s probably easier to show you than to define the term:

The road was crossed by the chicken.

You may think that no one would say this rather than “the chicken crossed the road,” but here are some examples of everyday business language that contain the same weakness.

Example 1

The report on the company’s credit situation was written by James Coopersmith. (passive)

James Coopersmith was the author of the report on the company’s credit situation. (inactive)

James ...

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