For the bake sale, two dozen cookies will be baked by Susan. We are going to watch a movie tonight. When you use passive voice, the receiver of the action becomes the subject of the sentence; and the actor appears in a prepositional phrase after the verb. Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage. The main reason is that the passive voice changes the focus of a sentence by stating its meaning in a less direct way.
Changing Passive Voice To Active Voice If you decide to change the passive voice to active voice, the process is really quite simple. In fact, sentences constructed in the active voice add impact to your writing. This rule does not, of course, mean that the writer should entirely discard the passive voice, which is frequently convenient and sometimes necessary. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. This rule does not, of course, mean that the writer should entirely discard the passive voice, which is frequently convenient and sometimes necessary. In those cases, the passive voice expresses meaning better, since the active voice focuses on whom or what does the action.
Note that not every passive construction is evil — sometimes what seems to be the false subject is worthy of prominence — but a preponderance of passive constructions leads to a wearying read. You'll notice that, in the passive examples below, there are a few key words. Someone has cleaned the windows. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. The cleaning crew vacuums and dusts the office every night. If you think something contributes to conversation, upvote it.
Every night, the office is vacuumed and dusted by the cleaning crew. The active voice is terrific, but before you impulsively rush to change a passive structure to an active one, see how both versions will fit with the previous sentence. Select the rewritten sentence that accurately conveys active voice. Dinner is being eaten by him. This includes the posting of personal information and posting with the intention of starting or propagating drama. Writers need to know what to do when these situations occur.
But the second sentence is the clearer way to share this information, directly telling who did what. The agent is expressed here with the phrase by Brutus, but this can be omitted. The ambiguity in such sentences arises because the verb be is used in English both as the passive auxiliary and as the ordinary for linking to predicate adjectives. English allows a number of passive constructions which are not possible in many of the other languages with similar passive formation. Definition In , the term active voice refers to a type of or in which the performs or causes the action expressed by the. There are times when passive voice is appropriate.
The subject, Caesar, indicates the person acted upon. Despite Orwell's advice to avoid the passive, his Politics and the English Language employs passive voice for about 20 percent of its constructions. The novel was read by Mom in one day. About 70-80 percent sentences in such articles are in passive voice. In the passive forms, the indirect object has been promoted and the direct object has been left in place. Decision Time Once you have found the passive voice in your or someone else's writing , you have to decide whether you want to change it to active or not. John will load the trailer.
If so, you have a nice, clear sentence, written in active voice. The obstacle course was run by me in record time. Use of the passive voice shifts the focus from the person performing the action to the person or thing that is acted upon the brash theft. Active writing usually requires fewer words to get the same message to your audience. . It is generally much less used than the active voice but is more prevalent in scientific writing than in other prose. By contrast the canonical passives, representing an action or event, may then be called dynamic or eventive passives.
When the verb being put into the passive voice is a anyway, the distinctions between uses of the past participle become less clear, since the canonical passive already has a stative meaning. If the doer is implied and not written in or is being acted on by the action, the sentence is weak or passive. You may be wondering: if the passive voice is so bad, why does it even exist? A book was given Mary. With passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb. The equivalent sentence in the is Brutus stabbed Caesar, in which the subject denotes the doer, or agent, Brutus. Soon enough, I reeled in a fat sucker; it flopped onto the shore like a sack of mush.