Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

What do you think of these two sentences?

A: 'The figures needed changing because they were out of date.'
B: 'We needed to change the figures because they were out of date.'

My choice is B because it has We, and that makes all the difference. Ideally, I would take the next step and make it, 'We changed the figures because they were out of date', which is also simpler.

Does A seem an odd way to use words?

Professional writers put the people in with words such as we, you, I, Jane, our accountant, learner drivers and 'everyone in the office'. Adding people makes sentences more natural and interesting.

It's even worth a few extra words to get 'personal'. Impersonal sentences are not only odd, but dry and many are confusing.

Notice how orators such as Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama get personal, at every opportunity.

About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder and managing director. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph's enjoys trips to France. He lives in rural Canterbury.

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