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Understanding Active and Passive
 Voice



The Path to Effective Writing
Verbs and Voice
• Voice is the form a verb
  takes to indicate
  whether the subject of
  the verb performs or
  receives the action.
• There are two types of
  voice: active voice
  and passive voice.
Active Voice
• Active Voice –
  indicates that the
  subject of the verb is
  acting

• Because the subject
  does or "acts upon" the
  verb in such sentences,
  the sentences are said
  to be in the active
Active Voice
 These examples show that
  the subject is  doing the
  verb's action.
   The dog jumped onto the boy.
     The dog (subject) is doing the
      jumping (verb).

   Kristy will give a book report to
    the class.
     Kristy (subject) is doing the giving
      (verb).

   The computer ate my paper.
     The computer (subject) is doing
      the eating (verb).
Passive Voice
• In a passive voice
  sentence, the subject and
  object flip-flop. The subject
  becomes the passive
  recipient of the action.

• Because the subject is
  being "acted upon" (or is
  passive), such sentences
  are said to be in the
  passive voice.
Passive Voice
• These examples show the subject being
  acted upon by the verb.
• The boy was jumped on by the dog.
   – Boy (subject) was being jumped on
     (verb)
• A book report will be given by Kristy to the
  class.
   – Report (subject) will be given (verb).
• My paper was eaten by the computer.
   – Paper (subject) was being eaten (verb).
Reasons to Use the Active
Voice
• Most writers prefer to use
  active voice because it is
  more direct.
• Compare
  – Active: The waiter
    dropped the tray of
    food.
  – Passive: The tray of
    food was dropped by
    the waiter.
Reasons to Use the Active
Voice
 The active voice is less
  awkward and clearly states
  relationship between subject
  and action.
 Compare
   Passive: Your request for
    funding has been denied by
    the review committee.
   Active: The review committee
    denied your request for
    funding.
 The active voice sentence
  pattern propels the reader
  forward through your writing
  thus avoiding weak prose.
When to Use Passive Voice
   In general, the passive voice is
    less direct, less forceful, and
    less concise than the active
    voice.
   Use the passive voice in the
    following situations:
     Use passive voice when
      you do not know or do not
      want to reveal the
      performer of an action.
     Use passive voice when
      you want to emphasize the
      receiver of an action.
Examples
• Awkward Passive: My
  bicycle was repainted by
  John.
• Deliberate Passive: My
  bicycle was repainted.
  (The performer is not
  mentioned and the
  emphasis is on the
  bicycle.)
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 The passive voice requires
  a "double verb" and will
  always consist of a form of
  the verb "to be" and the
  past participle (usually the
  "en/ed/t" form) of another
  verb.
 Example:
    Active: John baked the
    bread.
    Passive: The bread was
    baked by John. (Was is a
    form of the verb “be”.)
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 Writers should be familiar
  with the forms of "to be" ,
  often called linking verbs,
  so that they can easily
  identify the passive voice
  in their work.

 Review the forms of "to
  be":
   am, is, are, was,
    were, be, being,
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
• Note the forms of "to be" in the
  examples of the verb "to kick" in
  various forms of the passive voice:


• is kicked----------------had been kicked
  was kicked-------------is going to be
  kicked
  is being kicked---------will be kicked
  has been kicked-------can be kicked
  was being kicked------should be
  kicked
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 Often passive voice
  sentences will contain a
  "by" phrase indicting who
  or what performed the
  action.
 Passive sentences can be
  easily transformed into
  active sentences when the
  object of the preposition
  "by" is moved to the
  subject position in the
  sentence.
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 Examples:
   Passive: The cookies were
    eaten by the children.
   Active: The children ate the
    cookies.

   Passive: The tunnels are dug
    by the gophers.
   Active: The gophers dug the
    tunnels.
Let’s Practice
 Directions: Change the
  sentences below to the
  active voice.
  1.   The statue is being visited by
       hundreds of tourists every
       year.
  2.   My books were stolen by
       someone yesterday.
  3.   These books had been left in
       the classroom by a careless
       student.
  4.   Coffee is raised in many parts
       of Hawaii by plantation
       workers.
  5.   The house had been broken
Let’s Practice
 Directions: Change the
  sentences below to the
  passive voice.
 1.   Children cannot open these
      bottles easily.
 2.   The government built a road
      right outside her front door.
 3.   Mr. Ross broke the antique
      vase as he walked through
      the store.
 4.   When she arrived, the
      changes amazed her.
 5.   The construction workers are
      making street repairs all month
      long.

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Active and passive dc75

  • 1. Understanding Active and Passive Voice The Path to Effective Writing
  • 2. Verbs and Voice • Voice is the form a verb takes to indicate whether the subject of the verb performs or receives the action. • There are two types of voice: active voice and passive voice.
  • 3. Active Voice • Active Voice – indicates that the subject of the verb is acting • Because the subject does or "acts upon" the verb in such sentences, the sentences are said to be in the active
  • 4. Active Voice  These examples show that the subject is  doing the verb's action.  The dog jumped onto the boy.  The dog (subject) is doing the jumping (verb).  Kristy will give a book report to the class.  Kristy (subject) is doing the giving (verb).  The computer ate my paper.  The computer (subject) is doing the eating (verb).
  • 5. Passive Voice • In a passive voice sentence, the subject and object flip-flop. The subject becomes the passive recipient of the action. • Because the subject is being "acted upon" (or is passive), such sentences are said to be in the passive voice.
  • 6. Passive Voice • These examples show the subject being acted upon by the verb. • The boy was jumped on by the dog. – Boy (subject) was being jumped on (verb) • A book report will be given by Kristy to the class. – Report (subject) will be given (verb). • My paper was eaten by the computer. – Paper (subject) was being eaten (verb).
  • 7. Reasons to Use the Active Voice • Most writers prefer to use active voice because it is more direct. • Compare – Active: The waiter dropped the tray of food. – Passive: The tray of food was dropped by the waiter.
  • 8. Reasons to Use the Active Voice  The active voice is less awkward and clearly states relationship between subject and action.  Compare  Passive: Your request for funding has been denied by the review committee.  Active: The review committee denied your request for funding.  The active voice sentence pattern propels the reader forward through your writing thus avoiding weak prose.
  • 9. When to Use Passive Voice  In general, the passive voice is less direct, less forceful, and less concise than the active voice.  Use the passive voice in the following situations:  Use passive voice when you do not know or do not want to reveal the performer of an action.  Use passive voice when you want to emphasize the receiver of an action.
  • 10. Examples • Awkward Passive: My bicycle was repainted by John. • Deliberate Passive: My bicycle was repainted. (The performer is not mentioned and the emphasis is on the bicycle.)
  • 11. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  The passive voice requires a "double verb" and will always consist of a form of the verb "to be" and the past participle (usually the "en/ed/t" form) of another verb.  Example: Active: John baked the bread. Passive: The bread was baked by John. (Was is a form of the verb “be”.)
  • 12. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  Writers should be familiar with the forms of "to be" , often called linking verbs, so that they can easily identify the passive voice in their work.  Review the forms of "to be":  am, is, are, was, were, be, being,
  • 13. Form of Passive Voice Verbs • Note the forms of "to be" in the examples of the verb "to kick" in various forms of the passive voice: • is kicked----------------had been kicked was kicked-------------is going to be kicked is being kicked---------will be kicked has been kicked-------can be kicked was being kicked------should be kicked
  • 14. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  Often passive voice sentences will contain a "by" phrase indicting who or what performed the action.  Passive sentences can be easily transformed into active sentences when the object of the preposition "by" is moved to the subject position in the sentence.
  • 15. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  Examples:  Passive: The cookies were eaten by the children.  Active: The children ate the cookies.  Passive: The tunnels are dug by the gophers.  Active: The gophers dug the tunnels.
  • 16. Let’s Practice  Directions: Change the sentences below to the active voice. 1. The statue is being visited by hundreds of tourists every year. 2. My books were stolen by someone yesterday. 3. These books had been left in the classroom by a careless student. 4. Coffee is raised in many parts of Hawaii by plantation workers. 5. The house had been broken
  • 17. Let’s Practice  Directions: Change the sentences below to the passive voice. 1. Children cannot open these bottles easily. 2. The government built a road right outside her front door. 3. Mr. Ross broke the antique vase as he walked through the store. 4. When she arrived, the changes amazed her. 5. The construction workers are making street repairs all month long.