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Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
Using Active vs. Passive Voice
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Using Active vs. Passive Voice

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The difference between active and passive voice. Whenever possible, you write should be in active voice.

The difference between active and passive voice. Whenever possible, you write should be in active voice.

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  • Click on the correct answer.
  • Is the subject, the “dead chief” carrying himself? Of course not. Don’t forget. You can ignore propositional phrases as you make you analysis, and there are THREE of them in this sentence! One of them is even the clue work “by” showing who is doing the action of the verb. However, the subject of the sentence “dead chief” is NOT doing the action, so the sentence is passive. Click on start to continue.
  • Click on the correct answer.
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    • 1. Active or Passive Voice<br />Who is doing the action?<br />
    • 2. Active<br />ACTIVE: The subject of the sentence is performing the action of the verb.<br />Example: Javier pitched the baseball.<br />Subject: Javier<br />Verb: pitched <br />Who is doing the pitching? Javier. <br />“Javier” is the subject of the sentence; therefore, the sentence is active<br />
    • 3. Passive<br />PASSIVE: The subject of the sentence is NOT doing the action of the verb.<br />Example: The baseball was pitched by Javier.<br />Subject: baseball<br />Verb: was pitched <br />Who is doing the pitching? Javier. <br />“Javier” is NOT the subject of the sentence; therefore, the sentence is passive.<br />Note: The word “by” is often present in a passive voice sentence.<br />
    • 4. Javier pitched the baseball.<br />Javier, the subject of our sentence, is doing something. He’s ACTIVE, just like the sentence that expresses what he’s doing is active.<br />
    • 5. The baseball was pitched by Javier. <br />The baseball, the subject of our sentence, is doing nothing. It’s PASSIVE, just like the sentence that shows it was ACTED UPON is passive.<br />
    • 6. Which is more concise?<br />Look at the lengths of the two sentences? Which is more concise?<br />Javier pitched the baseball.<br />The baseball was pitched by Javier.<br />As you can see the first sentence, the active voice sentence, is also the most concise sentence. Unless you have a very good reason for writing a passive sentence, you should plan on writing your sentences in the active voice. Also, the active verb is more forceful that the passive one. While passive voice is not incorrect, if you have too many of them, your writing may sound awkward to your reader.<br />
    • 7. The game was won when the ball was hit out of the stadium by Jorge.<br />Jorge won the game when he hit the ball out of the stadium.<br />Which sentence sounds for forceful to you? The second one. It is also more concise. Which on sounds more awkward? The first one. It seems to wander around a lot to make its point.<br />
    • 8. Sample Sentences Coming Up <br />Find the main clause<br />Find the main verb <br />Who/what is doing the action of the verb?<br />Is the subject of the sentence doing the action of the verb?<br />Don’t forget the steps for determining whether a sentence is in active or passive voice.<br />
    • 9. I hit the ball across the field.<br />This one is pretty easy because there is only one clause to the sentence, so it IS the main clause. Then, find the verb, “hit.” Once you have the verb, ask yourself who is performing the action of the verb, in this case who is doing the hitting. The answer is “I.” Then, ask yourself if “I” is the subject of the sentence. Yes, it is. The subject is the person, place or thing that tells what the sentence is about. In statements ending with a period, the subject is normally at the beginning of the sentence, followed by the verb, followed by the rest of the sentence. It can get more complicated that this, that that’s the basics.<br />Since the subject “I” does the action, “hit,” the sentence is in active voice. <br />
    • 10. The ball was hit by me.<br />Go through the step again. There’s only one clause, so you can go on to the other steps. First, what is the verb? It’s “was hit.” Who is doing the hitting? The answer is “me.” Is “me” the subject of the verb? No. The subject is “ball.” Therefore, the sentence is written in passive voice. <br />
    • 11. I hit the ball across the field.<br />The ball was hit across the field by me.<br />Here are the two sentences together. In the first, active, sentence, the subject “I” is doing the hitting, but in the second, passive sentence, the ball was not hitting itself! It was “hit by me.” Notice the little clue word “by.” Often, though not always, the person or thing doing the action of the verb is preceded by the word “by.”<br />
    • 12. If you take the train, you will get to the party on time.<br />This is a more complicated sentence. It is composed of two parts. The first, “If you take the train,” would become a fragment if you replaced the comma with a period. It is incomplete. Therefore, it is called a dependent clause. Sometimes, it’s calls a subordinating clause because the information in it is subordinate to, or less important than, the information in the following clause, which is an independent clause that can stand alone. To determine whether the sentence is active or passive, you can consider ONLY the independent clause.<br />
    • 13. If you take the train, you will get to the party on time.<br />Here the dependent clause is crossed out. Look just at the main clause. Then, you can start to ask your questions. What is the main verb? “will get.” Who will do the getting? “You.” Is “you” the subject of the sentence? Yes. Since “you” is doing the getting, the sentence is in active voice. <br />
    • 14. We’ll stay home if it rains.<br />Here’s another sentence with a dependent clause. This time, however, it’s at the end of the sentence. Can you find it? <br />If you said “if it rains,” you are correct. That means you need to consider only “We’ll stay home” to determine active or passive. Find the verb and find out who or what is doing the action. What do you think? <br />If you said “we” is the subject doing the action “will stay,” you’re right. So, is the sentence active or passive?<br /> If you said “active,” you’re right because the subject “we” is doing the action, “will stay.”<br />
    • 15. DIY!<br />Find the main clause<br />Find the main verb <br />Who/what is doing the action of the verb?<br />Is the subject of the sentence doing the action of the verb?<br />Now it’s time to do it yourself! For each of the following sentences, decide on whether the sentence is active or passive before going to the next slide. <br />
    • 16. #1 <br />Josh and Kate had many things to talk about.<br />Active or passive? Decide on your answer and click to continue.<br />
    • 17. Active!<br />Josh and Kate had many things to talk about.<br />You’re right if you said active! The sentence is in active voice because “Josh and Kate,” the subjects of the sentence are doing the action, “had to talk about.”<br />
    • 18. Passive?<br />Josh and Kate had many things to talk about.<br />Were you thinking passive? Let’s look at it together. It’s simple sentence, so you don’t have to worry about a dependent clause. The verb is “had to talk about.” Who had to do the talking? Josh and Kate. They are also the subject of the sentence, so the subject, Josh and Kate, have to do the talking. In other words, they are performing the action in the verb. So, the sentence is active. <br />
    • 19. #2<br />The shelves were rearranged after the fifth book fell on the floor.<br />Active or passive? Decide on your answer and click to continue.<br />
    • 20. Passive!<br />The shelves were rearranged after the fifth book fell on the floor.<br />Yes, if you were thinking active! Because of the dependent clause “after the fifth book fell on the floor,” you need to consider only “The shelves were rearranged.” The verb is “Were arranged.” We don’t even know who did the rearranging! And, certainly, the shelves did not rearrange themselves, so this sentence is definitely passive. <br />
    • 21. Active?<br />The shelves were rearranged after the fifth book fell on the floor.<br />Were you thinking active? No, this sentence is passive. Let’s go through the analysis. Is there a dependent clause to eliminate first? Yes, you can ignore “after the fifth book fell on the floor” and consider only “The shelves were rearranged.” What is the verb? Were arranged. Who did the rearranging? We don’t even know! And, certainly, the shelves did not rearrange themselves, so this sentence is definitely passive. <br />
    • 22. #3<br />Jeannine completed her performance with a triple summersault.<br />I hope by now you are beginning to get the hang of it. This sentence and the ones following it are a small paragraph that I broke up so that you can consider only one sentence at a time. Don’t forget to consider only the main clauses of these sentences. Active or passive? Decide on your answer and click to continue.<br />
    • 23. Active!<br />Yes! The sentence is active because the subject “Jeannine” is doing the action, “completed.”<br />Jeannine completed her performance with a triple summersault.<br />
    • 24. If you thought passive, look more closely! There is one section of this long sentence that you can ignore. The sentence ends with a prepositional phrase, “with her triple summersault.” Ignore the phrase and consider the what’s left. The verb is “completed,” and the subject is “Jeannine.” The subject IS doing the action, so the sentence is active. <br />Passive?<br />Jeannine completed her performance with a triple summersault.<br />
    • 25. #4<br />After the computers had been installed in the lab, a student training session was held by the technicians. <br />Active or passive? Decide on your answer and click to continue.<br />
    • 26. Passive!<br />After the computers had been installed in the lab, a student training session was held by the technicians. <br />Passive is correct. <br />
    • 27. Passive?<br />After the computers had been installed in the lab, a student training session was held by the technicians. <br />If you were thinking active, don’t forget to ignore what you don’t really need. Like the previous sentence, this one has a prepositional phrase, two of them in fact. The verb in the main part of the sentence is “was held.” Did the students hold their own training session? No, the technicians held it, so the sentence is in passive voice. Also, the little clue word “by” is there to warn you. This is really a very awkwrd, roundabout way to say: After installing computers in the lab, the technicians held a student training session. <br />
    • 28. #4<br />The members of the homeowners association held a meeting to discuss the city’s landfill proposal.<br />Active or passive? Decide on your answer and click to continue.<br />
    • 29. Active!<br />The members of the homeowners association held a meeting to discuss the city’s landfill proposal.<br />Active is correct!<br />
    • 30. Passive?<br />The members of the homeowners association held a meeting to discuss the city’s landfill proposal.<br />Again, if you were thinking passive, don’t forget to ignore the prepositional phrase in the middle of the sentence. The subject of the sentence, “members,” is doing the action of the verb, “held.”<br />
    • 31. #5<br />Potatoes were cultivated by the Incas centuries before they became important to European cuisine.<br />Active or passive? Decide on your answer and click to continue.<br />
    • 32. Passive!<br />Potatoes were cultivated by the Incas centuriesbefore they became importantto European cuisine.<br />Yes! The “potatoes” did not cultivate themselves. There are THREE prepositional phrases that can be ignored in this sentence! One of them is even the clue word “by” showing who is doing the action of the verb. However, the subject of the sentence “potatoes” is NOT doing the action, so the sentence is passive. <br />
    • 33. Active?<br />Potatoes were cultivated by the Incas centuries before they became important to European cuisine.<br />Start<br />
    • 34. #6<br />The family of a 90-year-old man who loved cars buried him in the front seat of his 1973 Pontiac Catalina. <br />Active or passive? Decide on your answer and click to continue.<br />
    • 35. Active!<br />The family of a 90-year-old manwholoved cars buried him in the front seatof his 1973 Pontiac Catalina. <br />Yes! Once you ignore the word group associated with the relative pronoun “who” and the prepositional phrases, you are left with a short, active voice sentence.<br />
    • 36. Are there any times when passive voice is useful?<br />Use passive voice to express action when the actor is not known:<br />The concert tickets were sold out in six hours.<br />Use passive voice when pointing out who did the action is not desirable:<br />Poor judgment led the company to a bad decision.<br />In both of these examples, who did the action expressed in the verb is left unknown. It really doesn’t matter who did the selling in the first example, and it’s probably better not to say who has the poor judgment to make a bad decision in the second one.<br />

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