Active vs. Passive Voice. University Learning Center UP: PC 247 / BB: ACI 160 Developed by Jeniffer Viscarra. Why should writers think about their verbs?.
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.
Remember: Staying active is a healthy practice, especially in your writing!
Active/Passive ReviewDecide which of the following sentences use the passive voice and which sentences use the active voice. Correct the sentences that contain either a) passive voice ORb) an abrupt shift in voice.
-Research on German fascism was conducted by me.
-I conducted research on German fascism.
For the opening flag ceremony, Kema Jones choreographed a dance to Bill Withers’ song “Lean on Me.”
Seismologists examined data concerning the recent earthquake, and they filed reports about the damage.
The senator discussed problems of famine, pollution, dwindling resources, and arms control.
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.
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!
Passive Example:The boy was impressed by Ms. Jones.
Active Example: Ms. Jones impressed the boy.