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My tenet of life is that there is nothing that cannot be accomplished with effort.

Grammarly says it's incorrect, so what is wrong here? And is there a better phrasing than this?

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  • Double negatives can sometimes confuse so "My tenet of life is that with effort anything can be accomplished" might be clearer
    – Henry
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 14:49
  • 2
    There is nothing wrong with the passive voice. It's a rule promulgated by those reprobates Strunk & White (and others). The reason your sentence is great is uses the passive voice in exactly the way that it's meant to be used: as an information packaging construction. It shunts to the end of the sentence the most salient and important word here, the word effort. It is a double effective sentence, because it uses two information packaging constructions in conjunction to great effect. Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 23:07
  • Grammarly should only be used to suggest that something is wrong.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 2:45
  • The sentence is correct, but those who advocate the use of 'positive....' may argue against it.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 4:08
  • @Araucaria-Nothereanymore., your disdain for Strunk & White puzzles me. The problem with the passive voice is that many writers (especially inexperienced ones) tend to use it as a crutch--so much so that their prose becomes turgid and unreadable. Of course it is no sin to use the passive voice if you know what you are doing, but to use it repeatedly in an effort to sound smarter than you are is wrong.
    – RobJarvis
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 15:35

2 Answers 2

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"can be accomplished" is passive voice, which Grammarly flags as a problem. As a general rule, active voice is clearer and more assertive than passive voice, which is why most grammarians shun it. In some limited styles of writing or in rare instances, the passive voice may be appropriate. As a writer, not a grammarian, my advice is to work diligently to remove the passive voice from your everyday writing. Having done that, if you find no better way to express the thought, then use it and stick your tongue out at Grammarly.

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  • How would you suggest for this sentence then?
    – Esther
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 2:49
  • @Esther, I would revise the sentence to read, "My tenet of life is this: There is nothing you cannot accomplish with effort."
    – RobJarvis
    Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 15:32
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I don't see any use of the passive voice here. As far as I can see, there's nothing wrong with this sentence.

As to whether there's a better phrase, that's hard to answer; there'll always be better/different ways of saying something.

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  • 2
    "be accomplished" looks passive to me
    – Henry
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 14:50

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