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Jan 12, 2019 11:09:56

Writing for better comprehension: Forward writing

by @davidnge | 289 words | 🐣 | 104💌

David nge

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If you've heard about the active vs passive voice debate, then you should know that it's always better to write in active voice.

Consider the following:

Passive Voice: The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Active Voice: Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa.

First, you use less words to portray the same meaning in active voice.

Second, when you read "The Mona Lisa" in the passive voice sentence, your mind is left in a limbo. 

Something is to be said about The Mona Lisa.

Our mind is trying to put the pieces together. 

It's waiting for the second part in order for the puzzle to be completed.

This is called backward writing, and it slows down comprehension.

When you're writing backward, you're putting the effect ahead of the cause.

More examples of backward writing:

In order to lose weight you have to exercise.

To help boost the economy, the central bank has to cut interest.

Become the fastest marathon runner by completing it under two hours

We should write them forward instead, putting the cause ahead of the effect:

You have to exercise to lose weight.

The central bank has to cut interest to help boost the economy.

Complete the marathon under two hours to become the fastest runner ever.

When you write it forward, it allows you to grasp the idea more quickly. 

There are instances where you should write backward. When the sentences begin to sound repetitive or when there are too many forward writing. 

Summary:

- Prefer to use active voice over passive voice

- Read the sentence and study its impact on comprehension. Are you reversing the cause and effect to get to the idea you're trying to express.






  • 1

    @davidnge I completely agree about using active voice. Good examples.

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Jan 12, 2019 17:55:41
    • 1

      @brandonwilson thanks! I'm still getting used to writing in active voice by default XD

      David nge avatar David nge | Jan 13, 2019 01:53:20
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