Active and Passive Voice

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All right.

We’ve mentioned today’s topic a number of times now it’s time we talk in more detail about passive and

active voice.

This has a lot to do with developing a good writing style.

So active or passive voice is what describes the relationship between the subject and the verb or the

action of each sentence.

Active as you probably already know is this when the subject performs the action play using the act

of voice your style is usually more direct clear dramatic and concise an example.

The big burly man ate the whole box of donuts.

The passive voice was when the subject receives the action.

What happens.

Passive voice is used too frequently as it can confuse the reader by making it difficult to identify

the actor within a sentence or within a paragraph.

For example the whole box of donuts was eaten by the big burly man.

So we have that as an example of passive.

Imagine if we were to have a number of different actions without ever naming the specific actor OK we

can imagine that that would confuse the reader much more than the direct use of active voice.

My suggestion is to use passive wisely.

One way to use passive wisely is when the actor is honestly unknown.

For example the man was robbed around 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

We don’t know who robbed the man.

The actor is unknown.

A good time to use passive voice.

Another time to use passive wisely is when the actor does not need to be known.

For example on July 4th 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed.

So here that the emphasis of the focus is the Declaration of Independence for the signing of the Declaration

of Independence and so it’s unnecessary to know who the main actor or actors were.

Finally adding to the second point is to emphasize the action rather than the actor.

For example gravity was discovered by Sir Isaac Newton who were emphasizing the act of discovering gravity

rather than the actor.

Sir Isaac Newton in general however it’s best to avoid using passive voice whenever you can.

Active voice as we already discussed is more concise more concrete more direct and more dramatic.

It makes for a much better read so check who uses a passive voice during the revision process.

Passive voice again begins with all these Beever is are was were and so on together with a past participle

of the verb.

So it’s very easy to catch when you’re rereading your paper.

Well you need to do when you find the passive whenever possible to convert that passive into active


For example terrible papers are often written by great students.

We have our written so passive Beever together with the past participle are written as passive tense

so let’s convert that now into active grade students often write terrible papers.

But not you of course.

Especially after working through this course and taking it seriously you’re taking my offer seriously

of getting a paper reviewed and having a one on one consultation.

We’re going to make you a success or writer prefer today in order to develop a strong writing style.

Lean as much as you can toward the active voice.

Again you use passive occasionally and you can use it wisely with the points we’ve just discussed.

But for the majority of your writing as you use the active voice your writing will improve.

So send me your questions and comments are active and passive voice and we’ll see you again next time

for our next our next lecture.

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