His hair wants cutting. We bought a new entertainment unit. Other constructions are mentioned in which a passive past participle clause is used, even though it is not introduced by the auxiliary be or get or is introduced by get with a direct object: United States Declaration of Independence Every valley Writing in passive voice be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.
In the active form, gave is the verb; John is its subject, Mary its indirect object, and a book its direct object.
In the passive forms, the indirect object has been promoted and the direct object has been Writing in passive voice in place. It is normally only the first-appearing object that can be promoted; promotion of the indirect object takes place from a construction in which it precedes the direct object i.
Here, relieved is an ordinary adjective, though it derives from the past participle of relieve. Because the subject does or "acts upon" the verb in such sentences, the sentences are said to be in the active voice. The house is being built The meal is eating, modern English: Look for a "by" phrase e.
Rewrite the sentence so that the subject buried in the "by" clause is closer to the beginning of the sentence. There is a tendency for sentences to be formulated so as to place the focus at the end, which can motivate the choice of active or passive voice: Passive voice sentences often use more words, can be vague, and can lead to a tangle of prepositional phrases.
Children danced in the halls to celebrate the last day of school. City hall damaged by hail and as modifiers adverbial phrasesi.
If the subject of the sentence is somewhat anonymous, see if you can use a general term, such as "researchers," or "the study," or "experts in this field. If the first verb takes a direct object ahead of the infinitive complement this applies to raising-to-object verbswhere the expected subject of the second verb is raised to the position of object of the first verbthen the passive voice may be used independently for either or both of the verbs: Middle voice and passival [ edit ] The term middle voice is sometimes used to refer to verbs used without a passive construction, but in a meaning where the grammatical subject is understood as undergoing the action.
Jane had her car stolen last week.
One can change the normal word order of many active sentences those with a direct object so that the subject is no longer active, but is, instead, being acted upon by the verb - or passive. For example, the active clause: We had hoped to report on this problem, but the data were inadvertently deleted from our files.
They made Jane attend classes. Some argue that active voice is more muscular, direct, and succinct, passive voice flabbier, more indirect, and wordier. Note in these examples how the subject-verb relationship has changed.
A new cancer drug has been discovered the identity of the agent may be unimportant in the context. I had my car cleaned by a professional. If you find one, the sentence may be in the passive voice.
John threw the ball. To change a sentence from active to passive voice, do the following: Similarly, the passive may be used because the noun phrase denoting the agent is a long one containing many modifiers since it is convenient to place such phrases at the end of a clause: I feel people have taken advantage of me.
Another way of forming passives in such cases involves promoting the subject of the content clause to the subject of the main clause, and converting the content clause into a non-finite clause with the to-infinitive.
Plows should not be kept in the garage. Writers have preferred placing the agent at the end of a clause or sentence to give it greater emphasis, as in the examples given in the previous section: The passive writing voice occurs when the action is done by what seems like it should be the subject.
The Writing in passive voice voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive. Williamswho has written several books on style, states with greater clarity that the passive is often the better choice.
I am excited right now. This software comes pre-installed by the manufacturer. Misuse of the term[ edit ] Though the passive can be used for the purpose of concealing the agent, this is not a valid way of identifying the passive, and many other grammatical constructions can be used to accomplish this.Active and passive voice Readers prefer active voice sentences, and we should try to use the active voice in most of our business writing to communicate our message most effectively.
Active voice clearly identifies the action and who is performing that action. Today's topic is active voice versus passive voice. Here's a question from Brian in Iowa. He writes, “It drives me crazy when people write in passive voice.
26 Responses to “Using the Active Voice to Strengthen Your Writing” Benjamin Baxter on June 03, pm. Could you describe how Show, Not Tell, that mantra of modern English teachers, fits in with the passive voice? The passive voice is often maligned by grammazons as a bad writing habit.
Or, to put it in the active voice, grammazons across the English-speaking. Passive voice often produces unclear, wordy sentences, whereas active voice produces generally clearer, more concise sentences.
To change a sentence from passive to active voice, determine who or what performs the action, and use that person or thing as the subject of the sentence. Jan Freeman, a columnist for The Boston Globe, said that the passive voice does have its uses, and that "all good writers use the passive voice."  Passive writing is not necessarily slack and indirect.Download