Need Help?

Skip to Content

CCA Portal

Active Voice

Last updated on Jul 23, 2018

One of the key differences between content developed for the Portal and content developed for is that the Portal is geared towards serving content and information to people within the CCA community: students, faculty, and staff. Because of that, you should consider the tone and voice you use in your writing.

A quick and easy method to judge if you’re using active or passive voice: add “... by zombies” (or your monster/mythical creature of choice) to the end of any sentence or phrase. If the entire phrase still makes sense, then guess what: you’re using the passive voice.

A few examples of this model in action:

  • “The syllabus is under development. ... by zombies.”
  • “This issue is being taken care of. ... by unicorns.”
  • “The Nave is currently being worked on. ... by trolls.”

Plus some examples of it breaking down as active voice comes into play:

  • “We’re working on the syllabus. … by zombies.”
  • “We’ll be resolving your issue shortly. … by unicorns.”
  • “We’re installing some new improvements to the Nave. … by trolls.”

In each case, note that the issue is resolved by the addition of “we.” That’s because the problem with passive voice is that it makes it sound like we’re taking ourselves out of whatever we might happen to be talking about. It’s especially glaring in any customer service-related positions, where it sounds like we’re passing responsibility for an issue onto someone or something else. Remember, in owning your content, you want to keep the “you” in it as tangible as possible, lest you come off as a detached department or group.