Active writing will engage and compel your readers

The term E-Prime (short for English Prime) refers to a style of writing and speaking that completely removes the verb “to be” in all its forms from the English language.  Those who write in E-prime always write in an active voice.

It makes us more accurate and accountable for our opinions.  Compare, for example:

  • She is intolerant.
  • She said something intolerant yesterday.
  • People are unhappy with our service.
  • Five people complained about our service.

E-prime encourages us to use more verbs, adding color to our writing

  • He was angry.
  • He yelled at me and slammed the door.

Try this useful tool: When you use Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar check, the completion screen looks like that shown here.  It will tell you the extent to which you wrote in a passive voice.

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