Active vs passive voice
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Active vs Passive Voice . What is Active Voice?. When the subject of a sentence PERFORMS the action. Frank built the house. Active Example. The blazing fire blistered the outside walls. Subject – fire Verb – blistered Object – walls. What is Passive Voice.

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Active vs Passive Voice

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Active vs passive voice

Active vs Passive Voice


What is active voice

What is Active Voice?

  • When the subject of a sentence PERFORMS the action.

  • Frank built the house.


Active example

Active Example

  • The blazing fire blistered the outside walls.

    • Subject – fire

    • Verb – blistered

    • Object – walls


What is passive voice

What is Passive Voice

  • When the subject receives the action.

  • When the “doer” of the action comes late in the sentence.

  • The house was built by Frank


Why does this matter

Why Does This Matter

  • Active voice is stronger and more direct.

    • We know who did something!

    • More concise

  • Passive voice is often vague and boring.

    • Have to read more to find out who did something

    • Verbose – “to be”


Active is usually better

Active is Usually Better

  • Immediately know the subject

    • Know the doer of the action

  • If we WANT to be vague – Passive Voice

    • Academic writing is NOT to be vague!


Examples

Examples

  • Active

    • The nymphs dished it out.

  • Passive

    • It was dished out by the nymphs


Examples1

Examples

  • Active

    • They broke into the Watergate Hotel.

  • Passive

    • The Watergate Hotel was broken into.

      • By whom? Who ordered it?

      • Very vague


Clues of passive voice

Clues of Passive Voice

  • A form of the verb “to be”

    • As, is, are, was, were, etc

  • A past-participle

    • Past-tense for of a verb

    • Convicted, stolen

  • The word “by”

    • If the performer of the action is implied, unknown, or omitted


Scenario

Scenario

  • While rough housing with your brother, one of you broke a lamp.

  • If your brother broke it, you’d say…..

    • Active voice

  • If you broke it, you’d say….

    • Passive voice….


Practice

Practice

  • The art of Lucia Wilcox was admired by artists around the world.

  • Exhibits of her paintings were shown all over the world.

  • Her blindness was caused by a tumor near the optic nerve.


Practice answers

Practice Answers

  • Artists from around the world admired Lucia Wilcox’s work.

  • Museums showed exhibits of her work.

  • A tumor near her optic nerve caused her blindness.


Summary

Summary

  • Seek to write in the ACTIVE voice.

    • More precise

    • More clear

  • PASSIVE voice

    • Feels slow

    • Feels vague


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