disruptive phrase and passive voice

A misplaced phrase disrupts sentence flow. Here’s an example:

This tax, in virtually all cases, is collected by the county where the property is located.

To improve the flow, move the phrase to the beginning of the sentence:

In virtually all cases, this tax is collected by the county where the property is located.

Stop there if you like. But if you noticed that it’s people, not counties, that collect taxes, you may want to eliminate the passive voice, too:

In virtually all cases, the assessor in the county where the property is located collects this tax.

Now the sentence not only moves right along. It also alerts readers that the county assessor generally collects this tax.

But wait. What if some counties assign responsibility for collecting this tax to someone other than the assessor? What if some counties don’t even have a tax assessor?

Short of checking with every county in the state or nation, you can’t be sure. If accuracy matters to you, and it probably does, ignore the fact that a county is not a person and stick with the passive voice:

In virtually all cases, this tax is collected by the county where the property is located.

For more free writing tips and guidelines, free articles, and a free introductory consultation, visit Treasurefield Communications.

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About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
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