Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Allowing Passive Voice in Writing.

Allowing Passive Voice in Writing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 21, 2015)

Sheryl prefers passive voice for some of her writing (such as business documents and correspondence), rather than active voice. The grammar checker on Word always marks instances of passive voice. Sheryl would like to turn off the portion of the grammar checker that checks for passive voice so that it is not marked as an error.

Word allows you to choose which grammar checking rules it follows and which it doesn't. To change this particular setting (the one for passive voice), follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Spelling & Grammar tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Spelling & Grammar tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Click on the Settings button near the bottom of the dialog box. Word displays the Grammar Settings dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Grammar Settings dialog box.

  6. In the list of Style options, make sure there is no check mark next to the Passive Sentences option. Clearing the check box ensures that Word won't enforce that grammar rule during its checking of your document.
  7. Click on OK to close the Grammar Settings dialog box.
  8. Click on OK to close the Options dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3901) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Allowing Passive Voice in Writing.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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