Meet Your Enemy: The Passive Voice
The passive voice can obscure the meaning of and sap the energy from the most exciting science.
With few exceptions, sentences and clauses that start with 'there was', 'there is', or 'there are' (or he/she was, he/she is, etc.) lead to weakness, hypercomplexity and inelegance. Search for these constructions in your writing and try to eliminate them.
To write actively, use verbs rather than verbal equations:
Active Passive
The results did not depend on... The results were independent of ...
Both constraints limit... Both constraints are limiting...
Voles enhance the risk of predation. The risk of predation is enhanced by voles.
Make the subject and its verb convey most of your meaning. Also, keep in mind that the subject and verb contain the most important information in each sentence. So keep them close together and toward the front of the sentence to achieve the greatest clarity and impact.
At first, you may have to work long and hard to reform the passive writing in your articles. It takes time and practice. But your diligence will pay off in a smoother style and a heightened ability to communicate your results.
Bottom line: If you want busy people to read what you write, to understand it most easily and to incorporate it into their own thinking, then the passive voice is your enemy.