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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
 ActiveVoice – 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 voice.
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, been
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 into by someone
while the owners were on vacation.
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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02k-ActiveandPassiveVoice.ppt

  • 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  ActiveVoice – 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 voice.
  • 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, been
  • 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 into by someone while the owners were on vacation.
  • 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.