Active Voice Versus Passive Voice
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. How can I teach people how to tell the difference between passive and active voice and to stay away from passive voice?” Well, Brian is right, the first step is to help people understand the difference between active and passive voice, because many people believe they should avoid the passive voice, but fewer people can define it or recognize it. What Is Active Voice? I'll start with active voice because it's simpler. Another example is the title of the Marvin Gaye song “I Heard It through the Grapevine.” What Is Passive Voice? In passive voice, the target of the action gets promoted to the subject position. If you wanted to make the title of the Marvin Gaye song passive, you would say “It was heard by me through the grapevine,” not such a catchy title anymore. Next: Is "To Be" a Sign of Passive Voice? Is Passive Voice Always Wrong? 1.
Related: Story Structure writing tips