I have a list of words to search for as I edit: am, are, been, being, decided, felt, had, has, have, heard, is, knew, looked, noticed, realized, saw, thought, was, watched, were, wondered.
Yet, no matter how hard I try to fix those pesky sentences they still sneak past me. When I get back critiques inevitably I will find "passive voice" marked somewhere on the document.
- With your manuscript, or chapter, open in MS Word open your spelling and grammar check.
- When the spelling and grammar check window opens click on the options button.
- A new window will appear. One that will allow you to change your preferences.
- In this new window locate the settings button and click it. Yet another window will pop up, but this is the one which works the magic.
- Scroll down to the heading Style. There you will find a myriad of choices to choose from. One of those choices is passive sentences. Click it! (I added several others as well.)
- Click Okay and the window closes, leaving the Options window open.
- Click Okay again to get back to the spelling and grammar check window.
- Start searching your document for passive voice!
If you know how to do this for Mac, please add it in the comments.