20 Examples Of Active Voice Essay

ACTIVE / PASSIVE VOICE

Active voice

In most English sentences with an action verb, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb.

    These examples show that the subject is  doing the verb's action.

           

Because the subject does or "acts upon" the verb in such sentences, the sentences are said to be in the active voice.

 

Passive voice

One can change the normal word order of many active sentences (those with a direct object) so that the subject is no longer active, but is, instead, being acted upon by the verb - or passive.

    Note in these examples how the subject-verb relationship has changed.

           

Because the subject is being "acted upon" (or is passive), such sentences are said to be in the passive voice.

NOTE:   Colorful parrots live in the rainforests cannot be changed to passive voice because the sentence does not have a direct object.

To change a sentence from active to passive voice, do the following:

    1.  Move  the active sentence's direct object into the sentence's subject  slot

             

    2. Place the active sentence's subject into a  phrase beginning with the prepositionby

             

    3.  Add a form of the auxiliary verbbe to the main verb and change the  main verb's form

             

Because passive voice sentences necessarily add words and change the normal doer-action-receiver of action direction, they may make the reader work harder to understand the intended meaning.

As the examples below illustrate, a sentence in  active voice  flows more smoothly and is easier to understand than the same sentence in  passive voice.

            

           

It is generally preferable to use the ACTIVE voice.

 

To change a passive voice sentence into an active voice sentence, simply reverse the steps shown above.

    1.  Move  the passive sentence's subject into the active  sentence's  direct object slot

            

    2.  Remove  the auxiliary verb be from the main verb and change main verb's form if needed

            

    3. Place the passive sentence's object of the preposition by into the subject slot.

          

Because it is more direct, most writers prefer to use the active voice whenever possible.

The passive voice may be a better choice, however, when

  • the doer of the action is unknown, unwanted, or unneeded in the sentence

            Examples

            

  • the writer wishes to emphasize the action of the sentence rather than the doer of the action

            Examples

              

  • the writer wishes to use passive voice for sentence variety.

Summary:

This handout will explain the difference between active and passive voice in writing. It gives examples of both, and shows how to turn a passive sentence into an active one. Also, it explains how to decide when to choose passive voice instead of active.

Contributors: April Toadvine, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2018-02-07 02:43:48

Image Caption: The action is performed upon the sentence subject, meaning this sentence is passive (indirect).

Image Caption: This is an example of the active voice because the sentence subject performs the action.

Image Caption: This is an example of the passive voice.

Image Caption: This is an example of an active voice sentence because the sentence subject performs the action.

Image Caption: This is an example of the passive voice.

Image Caption: This is an example of an active voice sentence because its subject performs the action expressed in the verb.

Sentences in active voice are also more concise than those in passive voice because fewer words are required to express action in active voice than in passive.

Image Caption: This passive voice sentence is less concise than its active voice counterpart (shown below).

Image Caption: This active voice sentence requires fewer words to communicate the same idea as the passive voice version (above).

Image Caption: This passive voice sentence is more wordy than an active voice version.

Image Caption: This active voice sentence is more concise than the passive voice version (above) because the subject directly performs the action.

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