Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Here's a cool tip for spotting and correcting the passive voice in your legal documents from Ross Guberman, President of Legal Writing Pro and author of the best selling Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates.
It's part of a blog post Ross has published in which he explains how to tell the difference between a true passive voice construction and phrasings that sound like it but aren't. The entire post is worth reading but towards the end he offers the following techie tip for Word users that will help you spot and correct the "real" passive voice more easily.
So what’s the best way to separate “real” passive constructions from fake ones?
The best clues are the combination of a conjugated form of to be or to get or to have with a past participle. If finding that combination seems like a pain, let me share a secret:You can configure Microsoft Word to underline sentences containing passive constructions. Just go to Spelling and Grammar, Options, Settings, and then, under “Style” settings, click the “Passive Sentences” box.