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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Editing Tip: Active vs. Passive Voice

Active vs. Passive

This grammatical trick was unknown to me for a long time. (p.s. that was passive voice).

Most publishers, editors, and other writers will almost always prefer writing with sentences written in active voice. 

Okay, so what is active voice? Well, first let's have a little refresher lesson on verbs. Verbs fall into 3 categories: Active, Passive, and a form of the verb "to be"

We will be talking about only Active and Passive on this lesson.

Active Voice: If a subject performs the action of the verb it is described as "active"

Example: The girl kicked the ball. The subject "girl" performed an action, "kicked". 

Passive Voice: If in a sentence the subject has an action done to it, then it is passive. Are you slightly confused? I hope so. I was and it will make me feel better. 

Example: The ball was kicked by the girl. Now the subject "the ball" had the action done to it "was kicked".

The reason Active voice is more commonly accepted by others is because passive voice gets wordy.

Example: It was decided by the mother that the boy would need to eat every bite.

It's a long sentence, right? The passive section is "It was decided by the mother" Let's see if we can shorten it up and make it Active.

Example: His mother said he needed to eat every bite! Ta da! In comparison, 9 words instead of 15 words will win every time.

Active vs. Passive voice is a long lesson to learn. I am still learning to watch and correct my sentences. 
Test yourself out below. 

Keep going and Happy writing!

Quiz: (answers will be in the comments)

What sentence shows passive voice?

A: The dog was dropped off by the owner everyday
B: Everyday the owner dropped off the dog.

What sentence is not written in passive voice?

A: At each performance, a new tap dance was performed by a different dancer.
B: A different dancer performed a different  tap dance at each performance.
C: The tap dance was performed by a different dancer. 

1 comment:

  1. The first answer is B. Because the owner completed the action of dropping off the dog. So it is active.

    The second answer is B. The other two sentences are written in passive because the action was done to the tap dance.