Active vs. Passive Voice

Hello, Write Owls. Welcome to Day 29 of Grammar 110. Today we’re talking about active vs. passive voice.

Active voice is when the subject of the sentence is doing the action (see my lesson on sentence parts if you don’t know what a subject is). If the subject of the sentence is being acted upon by something else, that is passive voice. Nouns can be the subject of passive voice in dependent clauses as well (see my lesson on clauses if you don’t know what they are).

Examples:

Active: The girl kicked the ball.

Passive: The ball was kicked by the girl

Active: The boy baked a cake.

Passive: The cake was baked by the boy.

Active voice is more engaging than passive voice and should be used in most cases. Even if you want to keep the doer of the action a mystery, the sentence can often be rewritten to utilize active voice (e.g. The sword was drawn vs. Someone drew the sword.)

Keep an eye out for passive voice in your writing and rewrite those sentences to be more active. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments down below, and I’ll answer them as a reply since there’s no Q&A on Saturday.

For practice, rewrite these passive sentences as active ones. If you want me to check your answers, leave them in the comments.

1. The mad cows were closely monitored and studied by the veterinarians.

2. The books were stolen from the library.

3. The game was designed by one of my friends.

4. We were hurt by what they said.

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