Do both the main message and the call to action use the active voice?

Language

Use active voice and allow the subject of the sentence to perform the action. Active voice is used most often in conversation.

Example 1:

Active Voice:

Wash fruits and vegetables before you cut or peel them.

Passive Voice:

Fruits and vegetables should be washed before they are cut or peeled.

Example 2:

Before (passive voice):

The draft guidance was made available for public comment through publication in the Federal Register. Comments received were considered and, when appropriate, incorporated into the document.

After (active voice):

CDC published the draft guidelines in the Federal Register for public comment. We carefully reviewed the comments and, when it was appropriate, we incorporated them into the guidelines.

Resources

Supported by the CDC Style Guide: As a rule, use the active voice because it is more accurate, direct, precise, and interesting.

Page last reviewed: August 11, 2014