Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Word and Passive Voice

Today's Road Trip Wednesday hosted by YA Highway asks:
What word processing program do you use to write you manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you've learned in that program that has helped you while you write?

That's easy. Word. Yep, Word. I've never tried Scrivener or any other fancy-shmancy program out there. My computer has Word so that's what I use.

As to handy tricks? There's probably lots of things Word can do that I have no clue about. One thing I use when I Beta/Critique is Review. You click on "Track Changes" and everything you put on the manuscript comes out another color. But then you probably all knew about that already.

Waaaaiiiittttt... I JUST remembered. Hold on...


So during WriteOnCon in one of the forums, a very helpful somebody (can't remember who) told us how to catch Passive Voice in our manuscripts using Word. I had completely forgotten about it until now and I just found where I saved the tips, tried it in my MS and... VOILA! It works!

This was how he told us how to do it:

In MS word, go to Tools, then Options. Under the Spelling and Grammar tab, look at the grammar section and look for Show Readability Statistics.

It didn't work this way in my version of Word, so this is how I found it:

Click on Review. Click on Spelling & Grammar. Immediately a little box will pop up with your first "error." At the bottom left corner of the box, click on Options. There you can click the box Show Readability Statistics. Now I don't know if that's necessary or not (he said how it shows percentages), but near that click on Settings. Under Grammar, all of my little boxes were checked off. But under Style... nothing was checked. And one of those little boxes is Passive Sentences. AHA!

I actually checked them all off, then went back and un-checked Use of First Person because it was basically telling me to revise every sentence based on my first person. I went through a few pages and lo and behold on on the first page of my second chapter, a PASSIVE SENTENCE!

I don't know about you, but trying to figure out passive voice gives me a headache. Here is a VERY handy way to find your passive sentences. When I've got time, I'm gonna go through my entire MS and search those passive sentences.



  1. And here I thought there was nothing new to learn in Word. Thanks a million for sharing this, Melanie! I'm sure you're going to have a lot of people thanking you for this today. It's crazy how this stuff is already in Word, but you just never know about it. I'm heading over there right now to make these changes. :)

  2. that's a really handy tool! I'll be putting it to good use, thanks for sharing the tip.

  3. Yay for Word, indeed! There are all kinds of tricks like that in Word--but that's the advantage of using software that's been on the market for 20-or-so years. All that time to develop, listen to customers, tweak and modify, etc. will enhance it's usefulness.

    I, too, am a long-time Word user. :)

  4. Thanks for the passive sentence tip. I use Open Office, but it shares a lot of features with Word. I'll have to do some digging and see if it has a similar feature.

  5. I did not know about this handy little trick. You just made my day!

  6. I've learned something new today. Thanks for the tip. I can't wait to get home and try it!

  7. That is a way cool trick! Thank you for sharing this I'm totally going to use this right now!!

  8. Ooh, that is very cool! Can't wait to try it!

  9. I just found that trick last week. I was super excited!

  10. That IS a neat tip! I think there is a time and place for passive voice, but I would like to try that feature out because I just took out an unnecessary one in my script yesterday. Thanks!