Sentence Sense: Becoming an Active Writer Premium class

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).

8 of 8 students recommendSee All

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.
As part of my job I write blog content and user education content. I wanted to create stronger sentences that made sense and stuck with users. Within five minutes of watching Professor Koerber's class "Sentence Sense: Becoming an Active Writer" I was able to pinpoint where my sentences were weak, and had the tools to make them stronger. I can see this class being very useful for "creative" writing, but I am using it for technical / professional writing. I highly recommended this class and have enrolled in the professor's other Skillshare classes.
Ronen Segall

Music teacher and performer





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.

Oxford University Press recently published his writing textbook, Clear, Precise, Direct: Strategies for Writing (2015). Available on Amazon, the book considers the seven most common errors (interfering factors) in writing and how to improve them (enhancing factors). His second book, Crisis Communication in Canada, is in the revision process for University of Toronto Press.

Duncan Koerber has been a successful freelance editor, reaching the top 0.01% of editors on Elance. Now, his freelance editing and proofreading agency on Upwork is in the "top rated" category.

Duncan Koerber has a bachelor of arts degree in English, Professional Writing, and Political Science from the University of Toronto (2001), a master of arts degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario (2003), and a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture from York University and Ryerson University (2009).

His academic writing, which focuses on media and journalism history, writing pedagogy, and public relations crisis communication, has been published in the Canadian Journal of Communication, the Journal of Canadian Studies, Journalism History, Media History, Composition Studies, Canadian Journal of Media Studies, and Sport History Review.