Show Don’t Tell: Passive Verbs

I’ve been writing for some time now and some of the advice that gets pushed around is “show don’t tell.” Which is fine advice but no one ever gives a practical way to accomplish this. So here it is. A way to move your sentences from passive into active and therefore show instead of tell.

Take out the passive verbs.

That’s it. No fancy tricks. Use CTRL F to find and reword every sentence with these words:   WAS – IS  –  BY  –  WERE. Get rid of them. Completely. Watch your writing go from passive into active and propel your story forward. It may even cut back your word count too.

Need more?

Here is an excerpt from YourDictionary.com

  • “Active voice is used when the subject performs the action stated by the verb.
    For example: Tom changed the flat tire.
  • Passive voice is used when the subject is acted upon by the verb.
    For example: The tire was changed by Tom.”

Try this exercise out on your own story and see how it changes.

Happy Questing!

4 Comments

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