Writing Feedback April 7, 2020

Active voice > Passive voice

Harry Dry @harrydry

Quick reminder for writers to not slip into the passive voice.

For those trying to work it out:

  • Active voice - The subject of the sentence is doing something
  • Passive voice - Something is being done to the
    subject of the sentence

This sentence uses the active voice - clear, direct, punchy
The passive voice is used to write this sentence - ambiguous, indirect, wordy

If you're unsure worth copying your writing into Hemmingway App. It flags the use of passive voice.

  1. 2

    Good post @harrydry to serve as inspiration. I would be curious to know what the community thinks about this for early stage startups though. These examples are of companies that were already quite large prior to adopting these slogans, no? (I'm guessing, someone correct me if not).

    Sometimes, as a startup founder I fall into the trap of being too "explain-y" and polite rather than owning it. It can be tough to have too active of a voice when you're trying to explain new concepts, as it might come off as tone deaf I feel. Thoughts?

    1. 2

      I agree. Good comment. I think you've explained both sides of the coin pretty nicely.

      The trade off between being “too explain-y” and “being tone-deaf”.

      If I wrote “Marketing Examples - Think different” it would certainly be pretentious.

      I think forget slogans perhaps, and use this tip in your writing generally. I just illustrated it with slogans because it packs a bit more punch

      1. 1

        I think it's definitely a good tip to remain active in general writing. Agreed there! Though many startups and founds who deal with imposter syndrome will have to overcome this!

  2. 2


    Also, strip out B.S. words, jargon, and most of your adverbs.

    1. 1

      YES. never use adverbs. they suck. 100% agree.

  3. 1

    Does anybody know if there's a Spanish alternative to Hemingway's app?

  4. 1

    Can i just say that Hemmingway is a prime example of over-delivery in service management, being that you give more value on the service than the customer is expecting upon engagement. It's features are immense and free of use.

    1. 1


  5. 1

    For those interested, here's a nice write-up with more similar writing tips from plainlanguage.gov: https://plainlanguage.gov/resources/articles/dash-writing-tips/

  6. 1

    100% agree!

  7. 1

    I've heard "Hemingway" so many times! just a mac app? No web app?

    1. 2

      the link is the web app 😂

      there’s also a mac app for ~$20 I think

    2. 1

      The web app is free; the desktop is paid. I love it.

      1. 1

        so silly of me. If it was a snake, it would of bit me.

        1. 1


  8. -1

    This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

    1. 2

      For people that struggle with writing long form content.