Kommen Sie positiv rüber: Schreiben Sie im Aktiv!

Aus Korrespondenzseminaren in Ihrer Muttersprache kennen Sie den Grundsatz, dass Sie mit aktiven Formulierungen Ihre Texte lebhafter und direkter gestalten können. Das Passiv wird häufig benutzt, wenn Texte förmlich klingen sollen, wobei diese Absicht einer Verschleierung nahekommt und immer unpopulärer wird. Natürlich gilt dies auch für Ihre Fremdsprache Nummer 1. Bitte lösen Sie als Erstes die Übung ganz unten auf der Seite.

Did you find this exercise difficult? Compare our answers to yours.

  1. This is passive. The alternative would be: “Celia Heath wrote this letter.” Celia is the subject who did something. This sentence is direct and positive.
  2. Passive voice again. In this case the sentence does not convey any urgency to the reader. The alternative asks him or her for action: “Please hand in comments on this presentation by next Friday.” Now everybody knows what to do.
  3. This sentence is in the active voice.
  4. Passive meaning again, what a pity: the speech was great and convincing, the speaker did a great job, but the sentence does not identify this. In the active voice the speaker emerges: “The speaker made a very convincing speech at the conference.”
  5. This one is not so easy. It is active in the beginning and ends in a passive voice. We do not know who has to finish the report. The alternative is: “Mr Jones wants you to finish this report by tonight.” This is very firm, no escape, no choice: you know what is expected.
  6. This sentence is passive again. In this case “the problems” are the subject and seem to be the most important part of the sentence. In reality the I.T. department is more important, because they solved the problems. So why not express this in an active voice? “Our I.T. department has solved some computer problems.”

As you have seen the active voice is better in most of our cases. So try to avoid passive constructions in your business letters. This will make them more direct, interesting and lead to the result you intend.

Can you figure out which is the passive voice and which the active? Please change the passive sentences into active.

passive sentences active sentences
1 The letter was written by Celia Heath.
Comments on this presentation can be handed in up until next Friday.
Our boss set up a meeting for 5 p.m.
The speech at the conference was very convincing.
Mr Jones wants this report to be finished by tonight.
Some computer problems have been solved by our I.T. department
Total 0 Votes

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