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Passive Voice

Passive Voice
What this handout is about This handout will help you understand what the passive voice is, why many professors and writing instructors frown upon it, and how you can revise your paper to achieve greater clarity. Some things here may surprise you. Myths So what is the passive voice? 1. Use of the passive voice is not a grammatical error. 2. The passive voice entails more than just using a being verb. 3. On the contrary, you can very easily use the passive voice in the first person. 4. While the passive voice can weaken the clarity of your writing, there are times when the passive voice is OK and even preferable. 5. See Myth #1. Do any of these misunderstandings sound familiar? Defining the passive voice A passive construction occurs when you make the object of an action into the subject of a sentence. Why was the road crossed by the chicken? Who is doing the action in this sentence? Once you know what to look for, passive constructions are easy to spot. For example: becomes Scientific writing Related:  Nuts and Bolts

And Pretty Words All in a Row: Tightening Your Narrative Focus By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy First drafts are typically messy. We let our creativity guide us and the story goes where the story goes. It’s not uncommon for a first (or even second) draft to be a bit all over the place. It’s time to look at your narrative focus. Narrative focus is the theme or idea that ties a sentence, paragraph, scene, chapter, and book together. Sentences Have you ever read a run-on sentence? Bob ran for the car, jumping over the barrel of firecrackers he still couldn’t light, trying to ignore Sally screaming that she’d never leave the keys in the ignition and he was looking in the wrong place. Um, what? Do you have any idea what this sentence is trying to say? Try keeping the focus of each topic together. Bob ran for the car, ignoring Sally’s screams that she’d never leave the keys in the ignition. Better, but there’s still trouble here, because what do firecrackers have to do with going for keys? Paragraphs Remember English class? “They’re not there, you idiot!”

The Passive Voice Passive and Active Voices Verbs are also said to be either active (The executive committee approved the new policy) or passive (The new policy was approved by the executive committee) in voice. In the active voice, the subject and verb relationship is straightforward: the subject is a be-er or a do-er and the verb moves the sentence along. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is neither a do-er or a be-er, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed (The new policy was approved). Computerized grammar checkers can pick out a passive voice construction from miles away and ask you to revise it to a more active construction. We find an overabundance of the passive voice in sentences created by self-protective business interests, magniloquent educators, and bombastic military writers (who must get weary of this accusation), who use the passive voice to avoid responsibility for actions taken. Passive Verb Formation Verbals in Passive Structures

Culpa - Culpa er et latinsk ord som betyr «skyld». Skyldbegrepene forsett, uforsvarlig og uaktsomhet handler om subjektivt ansvar og i juridisk terminologi brukes ordet (culpa) så godt som utelukkende i betydningen «uaktsomhet». Uaktsomhet (culpa levis) kalles gjerne simpel uaktsomhet eller vanlig uaktsomhet. Det er ingen skarp grense mellom simpel og grov uaktsomhet. Ordet er mye brukt i norsk og øvrig nordisk erstatningsrett, som beskrivelse av den normen man må holde seg innenfor ved sin opptreden (culpanormen). I juridisk sammenheng snakker man også om uten culpa som betyr uten skyldansvar og dette regnes som objektivt ansvar. Culpa brukes også, i mindre grad, innenfor norsk strafferett, først og fremst i forbindelse med begrepet culpa levissima, som er en betegnelse på en svært lav skyldgrad («den letteste uaktsomhet»). Se også Eksterne lenker

WRITING TOOLS Character Pyramid Tool (PDF) Visualize your character’s FLAWS & associated behaviors (for a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws) Character Target Tool (PDF) Organize and group your character’s POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES by category: moral, achievement, interactive or identity (for a greater understanding of this tool, please reference The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes) Character Profile Questionnaire (PDF) Not your average character questionnaire! Reverse Backstory Tool (PDF) Work backwards to find your character’s wound, needs & lie (for a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws) Weak Verb Converter Tool (PDF) Transform all those generic, boring verbs into power verbs Scene Revision/Critique Tool Level 1 & Level 2 (PDF) A ‘light’ and ‘in-depth’ revision checklist for creating compelling characters and scenes

Clear, Concise Sentences: Use the active voice At the heart of every good sentence is a strong, precise verb; the converse is true as well--at the core of most confusing, awkward, or wordy sentences lies a weak verb. Try to use the active voice whenever possible. Active vs. passive voice In a sentence written in the active voice, the subject of sentence performs the action. Active: The candidate believes that Congress must place a ceiling on the budget. Passive: It is believed by the candidate that a ceiling must be placed on the budget by Congress. Active: Researchers earlier showed that high stress can cause heart attacks. Passive: It was earlier demonstrated that heart attacks can be caused by high stress. Active: The dog bit the man. Passive: The man was bitten by the dog. Converting sentences to active voice Here are some tips and strategies for converting sentences from the passive to the active voice. Look for a "by" phrase (e.g., "by the dog" in the last example above). When to use passive voice To be tactful by not naming the actor

Become a Story Genius: How Your Character's Misbelief Drives The Plot - WRITERS HELPING WRITERS® We’re welcoming story coach Lisa Cron to the blog today. Her new book, Story Genius, released not long ago and is traveling toward me via drone, or spaceship, or whatever thing Amazon’s using these days. I can’t wait for it to arrive. Lisa has some great thoughts on the inner struggle happening inside a protagonist, and how defining the why behind this struggle is the key to unlocking a powerful story that will capture your readers. Story is not about what happens on the surface, but what goes on beneath it. The answer is simple: you can’t. That’s why a generally interesting idea, a dramatic plot and lovely language aren’t enough to capture the reader’s attention. I’m here today to talk about the single most potent place to ask why, which is your novel’s Origin Scene – that is, the moment when your protagonist’s defining misbelief springs into being. Here’s Jennie breaking down her fledgling story idea: Step 1: Ask yourself, what is my protagonist’s misbelief? Save Related The Plot Thickens

Voice:  Active and Passive Active voice In most English sentences with an action verb, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb. These examples show that the subject is doing the verb's action. Because the subject does or "acts upon" the verb in such sentences, the sentences are said to be in the active voice. Passive voice 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. Note in these examples how the subject-verb relationship has changed. Because the subject is being "acted upon" (or is passive), such sentences are said to be in the passive voice. NOTE: Colorful parrots live in the rainforests cannot be changed to passive voice because the sentence does not have a direct object. To change a sentence from active to passive voice, do the following: 1. 2. 3. It is generally preferable to use the ACTIVE voice. 1. 2. 3. Examples

Seven Maxims of Storytelling, Part One | MDellert-Dot-Com “First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” — Ray Bradbury Plight: The Source of Your Story At the heart of every story lies a plight. Notice that it’s not a question. The only question is, “How effectively have you explored your protagonist’s plight?” Through exploration of your protagonist’s plight, you come to the most dynamic version of your story, the very heart and soul of your story, the place from which all the tensions and frustrations and conflicts bubble up and erupt. “A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.” — Joseph Conrad Maxims of Storytelling In the rewriting project now ahead of me, I’ve laid out seven maxims for myself, to refine and purify the garbage that comes out of my drunken subconscious during the opening salvos of the creative process. First Maxim: The purpose of story is to reveal an evolution A plight is something that can’t be figured out. More Maxims Save Like this: Like Loading...