As the writer, you may see some differences
between advise and assist, interest and concern,
or thanks and gratitude. But your readers wont.
Repeating a general idea cant make it any more
precise. Simple subtraction will overcome the use
of similar words such as these:
Example: We must comply with the standards
and criteria for controlling and
reducing environmental pollution.
We must comply with the stan-
dards for reducing environmental
Avoid hut-2-3-4 phraseslong chains of
nouns and modifiers. Readers cant tell what
adjective modifies what noun or where the
modifiers end. We must live with some official
hut-2-3-4 phrases, such as fleet-oriented
consolidated stock list, but you can avoid forming
unofficial phrases. Rearrange modifiers or rewrite
such phrases entirely:
Example: The Board of Inspection and
Survey service acceptance trials
requirements by the Board of
Inspection and Survey for service
Excessive abbreviating is false economy. Use
abbreviations no more than you must with insiders
and avoid them entirely with outsiders. Spell out
an unfamiliar abbreviation the first time it
appears. If it appears only twice or infrequently,
spell out the term each time and avoid the
abbreviation entirely. Put clarity before economy.
Example: Marine Corps Development and
Education Command (MCDEC)
Passive verbs cause problems. They make
writing wordy, roundabout, and sometimes
downright confusing. Learn how to spot passive
verbs and make them active. Most sentences
should use a who-does-what order. By leading
with the doer, you automatically avoid a passive
The ship was inspected by the
The skipper inspected the ship.
A verb in the passive voice uses any form of
to be (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been) plus
the past participle of a main verb, such as driven
or inspected. Unlike sentences with active verbs,
sentences with passives dont need to show who
or what has done the verbs action. Most passives
just imply the "doer, which can sometimes make
the sentence unclear. Use one of three cures for
1. Put a doer before the verb:
Appropriate clothing will be worn
by all personnel.
All personnel will wear appro-
Wear appropriate clothing.
2. Drop part of the verb:
Example: Then he was transferred to Nor-
Then he transferred to Norfolk.
3. Change the verb:
Example: Personnel are prohibited from do-
Personnel must not do so.
Write passively if you have good reason to
avoid saying who or what has done the verbs
action. You might do that when the doer is
unknown, unimportant, obvious, or better left
unsaid. When in doubt, write actively, even
though the doer may seem obvious. You will write
livelier sentences (not, livelier sentences will be
written by you).
In this chapter we discussed the work center
schedule, how to manage your time, and the
importance of a smoothly run work center.
You must seek self-improvement through
leadership self-assessment to become a leader of
Navy men and women. While assessing your
leadership skills, keep in mind that no best
leadership method exists. You may have to change
your leadership behavior to fit your changing