How are verbs used most effectively?

Verbs are vigorous, direct communicators. Use the active rather than the passive voice, and select tense or mood carefully.

  • Preferred:
    We conducted the survey in a controlled setting.
  • Nonpreferred:
    The survey was conducted in a controlled setting.
  • Preferred:
    Simpson (2001) designed the experiment.
  • Nonpreferred:
    The experiment was designed by Simpson (2001).
  • Preferred:
    Participants sat in comfortable chairs equipped with speakers that delivered the tone stimuli.
  • Nonpreferred:
    The participants were seated in comfortable chairs equipped with speakers that delivered the tone stimuli.

(adapted from the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, © 2010)