Active vs. Passive Voice. University Learning Center UP: PC 247 / BB: ACI 160 Developed by Jeniffer Viscarra. Why should writers think about their verbs?.
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University Learning Center
UP: PC 247 / BB: ACI 160
Developed by Jeniffer Viscarra
“Verbs are the most important of all your tools. They push the sentence forward and give it momentum. Active verbs push hard; passive verbs tug fitfully.”
-- William Zinsser,
On Writing Well
Joseph draws a picture.
The picture was drawn by Joseph.
In this case, the drawing is the subject and it is being acted upon by Joseph.
The passive sentence takes attention away from management, so they do not have to be in the role of the “bad guys.”
The use of passive emphasizes the finding of
gases, not who found them.
Note:Because passive voice often leads to awkward or wordy
constructions, use passive voice sparingly and with good reason.
Remember: Staying active is a healthy practice, especially in your writing!
Announce – announcement
Propose - proposal
Depart – departure
Meet – meeting
Another way of preserving active voice is by placing the noun/s doing the action before the verb. Try it!
Example:The boy was impressed by Ms. Jones.
Ebest, Sally Barr and Charles T. Brusaw. Writing from A to Z. Mountain View: Mayfield Publishing, 2000.
Keen, Michael and Katherine H. Adams. Easy Access. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2002.
Troyka, Lynn Quitman. Quick Access. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.