Legal writing and active voice

Take it all with a grain of salt.

The police officer arrested the man. The poor should not be crucified on the cross of a balanced budget. The offers were rejected.

Who is supposed to distribute the memorandum? As a general rule, active voice is preferred because it meets two of the most important requirements of legal writing: Click here for passive voice exercises to your browser to complete the exercise.

However, there are a limited number of situations -- explained below -- where using passive voice is preferable. In the following example, the writer defense counsel prefers not to use the active voice in order to avoid focusing attention on the identity of the actor.

The offer s will be rejected. The paper was delivered by Jane. Contents Index Previous Next Passive Voice Active voice is distinguished from passive voice by the identity of the actor. Use passive voice when intentionally trying to hide the identity of the actor.

The lawyer made a mistake, and the judge declared a mistrial. Be Consistent Whether you are using active or passive voice, be consistent within a sentence.

Active/Passive Voice

The subject should precede the action or main verb of the sentence. My client took the diamond from the tray. He tried to act cool when he slipped in the puddle, but the other students still laughed at him.

The assignment was submitted late. Either of the approaches below may be acceptable for a given audience. The summons and complaint were not served on the defendant in person until May 18th.

The man was arrested by the police officer. Jane delivered the paper.

In a particular circumstance you may prefer the sound or impact of a sentence when written in passive voice. The passive voice tempts the writer to omit the identity of the actor, thus producing a fuzzy truncated passive like this: Using passive voice here leaves a lot of questions: The offers are rejected.

When the lights went out, several punches were thrown. The legislature should not crucify the poor on the cross of a balanced budget. You may use passive voice with a multi-part subject. The reasons behind their decisions must be explained by judges.

Here is some more information on what these different constructions are and when you should use each of them. The offer is being rejected.Passive Voice, Don't Use It!!

YOU SHOULD WRITE IN THE ACTIVE VOICE. What is Active Voice? In a sentence written in "active voice," the subject of the sentence is performing the action described within the sentence.

He also taught legal writing and research at American University Washington College of Law, Golden Gate University School of. Active voice is distinguished from passive voice by the identity of the actor.

As a general rule, active voice is preferred because it meets two of the most important requirements of legal. Writing Clear and Effective Legal Prose. By George D. Gopen. Our English teachers taught us to avoid the passive.

Passive Voice

They said it was weaker and more cumbersome than the. Aug 15,  · Drafting Legal Documents, Principles of Clear Writing. Home | Previous | Next. Principles of Clear Writing. 1. Write in the active mi-centre.com active voice eliminates confusion by forcing you to name the actor in a sentence.

Active/Passive Voice. You've likely read about active and passive voice in Richard Wydick, Plain English for Lawyers (Chapter 4). Here is some more information on what these different constructions are and when you should use each of them.

FROM THE LEGAL WRITING CLINIC WRITING TIP OF THE WEEK PASSIVE VOICE IN PERSUASIVE WRITING When you write in active voice, the subject of your sentence does the.

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Legal writing and active voice
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