Even if you’re familiar with the rules of active and passive voice, there’s a good chance you might not be using them as effectively as you could. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between the two voices, as well as provide some examples so that you can start to apply them to your writing.
What is the Active Voice?
The active voice is when the subject performs the action of the verb. For example, “I eat” is in the active voice because the subject eats. “The cat ate the canary” is in the passive voice because the cat was eaten by the canary.
What is the Passive Voice?
In the passive voice, the subject is acted upon or receives an action done to them. For example, “The canary was eaten by the cat” is in the passive voice because the canary was eaten without any involvement or consent from the cat.
What is the Passive Voice?
The passive voice is a construction used to show an action as being caused by another person or thing. For example, in the sentence “The cat was killed by the dog,” the subject, “cat,” is acted upon or caused by the object, “dog.”
Passive voice examples:
The book was bought by John.
The lamp was broken by Jane.
The article was written by Sarah.
How to use the Active and Passive Voices Correctly
The active voice is when the subject of the sentence is doing the action of the verb. For example, “I am writing a paper.” The passive voice is when the subject of the sentence is being done to or by something else. For example, “A paper was written by me.”
There are a few rules to remember when using the active and passive voices:
1. Use the active voice when you are doing something yourself.
2. Use the passive voice when you are being done to or by something else.
3. Use compounds (i.e., two or more verbs) in the active voice only if they are linked together by a conjunction (and, but, etc.).
4. Use gerunds (i.e., verbs that end in “-ing”) in the active voice only if they refer to an activity that someone is performing voluntarily (writing a paper, playing tennis).
5. When using past tense forms of verbs in the active voice, always use -ed instead of -est.
6. When using present tense forms of verbs in the active voice, always use -ing instead of -es.
Examples of Active and Passive Voice Use
Active voice is when the subject of a sentence is performing an action, such as “I walked.” Passive voice is when the subject is receiving or being given something, such as “The dog was walked.”
Here are some more examples of active and passive voice use:
I bought the book.
Passive Voice: The book was bought by me.
When to Use Active Voice
Active voice is often used to present facts or ideas. In active voice, the subject (the actor) does the action (the verb). For example, “The student raised her hand.” Active voice is often used to express actions that are completed by someone.
Passive voice is when the subject is not the actor and the verb is not necessarily completed by someone. Passive voice can be used when the subject is not known or when it’s difficult to know who the actor is. For example, “The paper was passed around.” Passive voice can also be used to describe something that happens to someone else without showing who does it.
When to Use Passive Voice
Active voice is when the subject of a sentence is doing the action of the verb. For example, “The dog barks.” In this sentence, the dog is the actor and barks is the verb.
Passive voice is when the subject of a sentence is being acted upon or affected by an event or action. For example, “The doorbell rang.” In this sentence, the doorbell is the actor and rang is the verb.
There are certain times when using passive voice makes more sense than using active voice. For example, if you’re writing about someone else’s actions, it can be helpful to use passive voice to keep your focus on the person being described rather than on yourself as the actor. Additionally, passive voice can be used to avoid giving away important information about the speaker or subject.
Here are some more examples of how to use passive voice:
The book was given to me by my friend John.
My friend John gave me the book.
Active Voice: The flowers are in bloom. Passive Voice: The flowers are being bloomed.