Slay Those Passive Verbs

Brendareeves, MEd.
2 min readAug 19, 2022


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I use Medium as my blog and write in a conversational style. As a result, I write with a lot of passive verbs:

  • Are
  • were
  • Will be
  • Had been
  • Is
  • Are going to be

Recently, I discontinued paying for Grammarly. Grammarly keeps me on my toes when writing. Without it, I get lazy and write with a slew of passive verbs, and I’m very wordy. I decided to tackle the passive verbs on one of my Medium posts that I wrote after turning off Grammarly. Here’s an excerpt of Coffee Shops are Great Inventions:

Yesterday morning, I went to Starbucks and got in line. A young man ahead of me turned and asked if I’d like for him to buy me a coffee. I said, sure if you’d like to. I thanked him and said I would pass it along. I’ve had that happen before, and I know it’s not because the guys are trying to pick me up. I probably remind them of their little old grandmothers although I’m 5' 10'. Maybe their old grandmothers are tall, also.

Let me see what I can do to spruce it up a little:

Yesterday morning, I got in line at Starbucks to order a coffee and egg bites. The young man ahead of me turned and asked permission to pay for my coffee. Sure, if you want to, I answered. Thank you, I’ll pass it along.

Paying for a person’s food in a restaurant or drive-thru, began during the 2008 economic crisis. The tradition continues to this day in the United States. It isn’t the first time someone paid my bill. Sometimes, the person pays anonymously. The guys aren’t trying to pick up on me. Maybe I remind them of their little old grandmothers although I’m 5' 10". Maybe I look homeless. I appreciate the gesture regardless.

I find this to be a fun exercise. Although time consuming, it can improve your writing. I’ll take the lazy way out and subscribe to Grammarly again. I also like to look at the articles of other Medium writers to see if they hoard passive verbs.

I suggest you try this exercise if you want to slay those passive verbs.

If you’d like to receive an email every time I post an article, click here.



Brendareeves, MEd.

Editor of Slice-of-Life Musings. A free spirit, visual artist, writer, editor, animal lover, introvert, blogger and independent woman.