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Sentence Sense: Becoming an Active Writer

Duncan Koerber, University Professor

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5 Videos (20m)
    • Introduction to the Course

    • What is Active Voice?

    • What is Passive Voice and Why is it so Bad?

    • The Morality Problem of Passive Voice

    • When it's Okay to Use Passive Voice


About This Class

Writers have a tendency to fall into what's called Passive Voice. This is a word order that creates wordiness and awkwardness. Also, it can hide details, which raises morality questions. Simply put, passive voice often hides who is doing the action in a sentence. Are you hiding information from your readers? 

Great writers know that the alternative, Active Voice, is the best way to write. In this course, you'll learn how to identify Passive Voice and convert those sentences into the Active Voice word order.

If you can become an active writer 95% of the time, you'll write more clearly and directly. As a result, readers will enjoy your style. 

This course comes from the author of Clear, Precise, Direct: Strategies for Writing (Oxford University Press, 2015).

20 of 21 students recommendSee All

I am seeking out the rest of Duncan's classes. He's directly to the point. He speaks clearly. And, his classes are very professional. Duncan communicates his knowledge exceptionally.
Kimberly Purcell

Just Want To Make and Learn Stuff

This wasn't complex, as Duncan broke it down into very simple and easily understood formulas for what comprised a passive sentence, and what didn't. Great refresher and well done!
Crystal K.


I wanted to learn how to use the active voice more in blog posts. I found this class logical and easy to follow with lots of practical advise.





Duncan Koerber

University Professor

Dr. Duncan Koerber has taught writing and communications courses for the past 10 years at six Canadian universities to thousands of students.

Currently a full-time assistant professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, Duncan Koerber worked for nearly 10 years in reporting and editing roles for the London Free Press, the Mississauga News, and the University of Toronto Medium. He has freelanced for magazines and newspapers, including the Toronto Star.


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