Active Voice Vs Passive Voice

Key takeaway:

  • Active voice is the preferred choice for most types of writing as it is more concise, direct, and engaging.
  • Using active voice in sentences helps to clearly identify the subject, perform the action, and improve the flow of ideas.
  • Passive voice should be used in specific situations when the performer of the action is unknown, unimportant, or intentionally withheld.

Understanding the difference between active voice and passive voice is crucial. In this section, we’ll define what active voice and passive voice are and highlight their significance. By grasping these concepts, you’ll be equipped to effectively communicate your ideas, convey actions clearly, and craft impactful sentences. So, let’s dive into the world of active and passive voice and unlock the power of strong and precise writing.

Definition of Active Voice and Passive Voice

Active voice and passive voice: It’s key to know the difference! Active voice means the subject does the action stated in the verb. The subject is usually before the verb, so it’s clear who or what is doing the action – making it perfect for clear communication.

On the flip side, passive voice has the subject acting on the object of the verb. The subject often comes after the verb, or isn’t even there, leading to more indirect communication.

Active voice is better for most writing. It’s concise, engaging, and clear. It also emphasizes responsibility and accountability by saying who does the action.

Passive voice can be used to emphasize the object or omit info. But too much of it can make writing confusing, wordy, and lacking in responsibility.

So it’s all about your writing goals and intentions. Active voice is usually best, but passive voice might be necessary in certain contexts. Understanding the difference can help you avoid sounding like a stuffy teacher or an alien!

Importance of understanding the difference between Active Voice and Passive Voice

Knowing the difference between Active Voice and Passive Voice is essential for successful communication. Active Voice focuses on the doer, while Passive Voice highlights the recipient of the action. Being aware of when to utilize each voice can make a major difference in the clarity and tone of your writing, guaranteeing that your message is delivered correctly and effectively.

Active Voice, as the name implies, concentrates on the subject doing the action. This voice is often used in writing to give a feeling of immediacy and directness. By using Active Voice, you can craft your sentences more enthralling and dynamic, engaging the reader. For instance, “The dog chased the ball” clearly expresses who performed the action (the dog) and what action was done (chased).

In contrast, Passive Voice shifts the attention away from the subject to the object receiving the action. This voice is frequently used when we need to put emphasis on what happened rather than who performed it. Passive Voice is especially practical in formal writing or when talking about scientific or technical processes. For example, “The ball was chased by the dog” spotlights what happened (the ball being chased) rather than who did that action.

Comprehending how to use Active Voice and Passive Voice properly enables writers to adjust their message for different writing styles and contexts. In news articles where immediacy and directness are crucial, Active Voice is usually preferred to catch readers’ attention quickly. On the other hand, passive constructions are commonly found in formal writing where objectivity is valued over personal involvement.

The Difference Between Active Voice and Passive Voice

Active voice and passive voice play distinct roles in communication. In this section, we’ll explore the difference between active voice and passive voice. We’ll uncover the unique characteristics and uses of each voice, shedding light on their impact on sentence structure and clarity. Discover how active voice promotes directness, while passive voice prioritizes the object over the subject. Prepare to unravel the intricacies of these two fundamental writing styles.

Explanation of Active Voice

Active voice is a type of sentence construction. It emphasizes the subject of the sentence and the action they are doing. This makes it clear and direct. The subject is usually first, followed by the verb and then the object.

In active voice, the focus is on the doer, not the receiver. This helps readers understand the message. Plus, it has a more engaging and dynamic writing style.

Using active voice can make sentences easier to read. It’s useful for news articles or when you need to explain something clearly. For example, “The company launched a new product” makes it obvious who did the action and what the action was.

Active voice also allows for more flexibility. Writers can highlight important points or emphasize actions.

Explanation of Passive Voice

Passive Voice is a grammatical construct in which the subject of a sentence gets the action from the verb. It is used when the emphasis is on the object, not the subject. To form Passive Voice, the main verb is converted to its past participle form and preceded by a form of “be”. This gives writing an objective or impersonal tone.

In Passive Voice, the recipient of the action becomes the subject. The doer can be either mentioned after the verb or kept hidden. This provides more flexibility for emphasizing different parts of the sentence, creating mystery and suspense. Also, Passive Voice is used when discussing general truths, scientific observations or historical events.

For example:

  • Active Voice: “The chef cooked a delicious meal“.
  • Passive Voice: “A delicious meal was cooked by the chef“.

Here, Active and Passive Voices are used. To identify which portions are used for Passive Voice and who performs the action, it must be pointed out in Active Voice as the subject.

Usage of Active Voice

Active Voice, a powerful writing technique, adds vigor and clarity to your sentences. In this section, we’ll explore the usage of Active Voice in sentence construction, witnessing its ability to engage readers directly. From enhancing sentence structure to conveying a sense of immediacy, discover how Active Voice breathes life into your writing, with examples showcasing its effectiveness.

Examples of Active Voice in sentences

Active Voice is a type of sentence structure where the subject does the action. It is viewed as more direct and interesting compared to Passive Voice. Active Voice is used in both speaking and writing for clarity and efficiency.

Examples of Active Voice sentences are:

  1. “The teacher taught the students.”
  2. “The company released a new product last month.”
  3. “She sings marvellously.”
  4. “The police captured the suspect.”

These examples show how using Active Voice makes it obvious who is doing the action and puts the emphasis on them. Active Voice makes sentences concise and engaging for readers.

Moreover, Active Voice has other advantages. It is usually more interesting and dynamic than Passive Voice, which brings the reader closer to the story. Active Voice also helps avoid misunderstanding from passive constructions.

Still, there are downsides to Active Voice. Constant use of it could lead to monotony and bore readers. Also, in some cases when the agent or doer of an action is not known or unimportant, Passive Voice might be more suitable.

Being aware of both the benefits and drawbacks of Active Voice, writers must decide when to use it depending on the effect they want to achieve and the clarity of the message. The correct use of Active and Passive Voices can help to communicate effectively while keeping readers interested with varied sentence structures.

Overall, understanding and using Active Voice correctly allows writers to create effective sentences that communicate clearly while keeping readers engaged with a vibrant narrative flow.

Usage of Passive Voice

Passive voice can play a significant role in writing, and understanding its usage is essential. In this section, we will explore the usage of passive voice and provide examples of its implementation in sentences. By grasping the concepts behind passive voice and learning how to identify and use it effectively, we can elevate our writing skills and engage readers in a more nuanced and versatile manner.

Examples of Passive Voice in sentences

Passive Voice is a grammatical structure where the subject receives the action from the verb. It’s used in formal writing to move the focus from the doer of the action to the receiver or object of the action. Here are some examples:

  • The company launched a new project.
  • The cake was baked by my sister.
  • Awards were given to outstanding students.
  • The report will be submitted tomorrow.

These sentences show how Passive Voice can emphasize the receiver instead of the doer. It’s helpful for talking about a process without mentioning who is responsible for it. Passive Voice also makes formal and objective writing.

It’s also used when the doer of the action is unknown or unimportant. It puts emphasis on what’s been done, not who did it. Also, it helps create variety and avoid repetition.

We can see how Passive Voice gives different effects in different contexts. It’s important for writers to know when and how to use it properly, to stay clear in their writing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Active Voice

Discover the advantages and disadvantages of using active voice in writing. Uncover how active voice can enhance clarity and engage readers, while also acknowledging potential limitations. Gain insights into the benefits of clear and direct communication, as well as the challenges that may arise when employing active voice.

Advantages of using Active Voice in writing

Active voice in writing has many advantages. Its clear, direct communication helps make sentences simpler and easier to understand. It also adds a sense of immediacy and excitement, making the text more engaging.

Active voice also connects actions to their performers. This adds clarity and responsibility. In professional or legal contexts, it’s important to attribute actions to individuals or entities.

Plus, active voice improves writing flow. It avoids passive constructions that may lead to wordiness or confusion. Active voice sentences are shorter, simpler, and easier to read.

Disadvantages of using Active Voice in writing

Active Voice in writing may have its drawbacks. In Active Voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. On the other hand, Passive Voice is when the subject receives the action.

Potential issues with using Active Voice include:

  • A lack of objectivity
  • Emphasizing the doer of the action, rather than the action itself
  • Sounding too direct or aggressive
  • Not being suitable for certain writing styles or genres

Active Voice can make it hard to be impartial when presenting information. It also takes away focus from the action and can make writing sound too direct. It may not be the best choice of voice for formal academic writing.

It is important to remember these disadvantages when deciding to use Active Voice. Even though there are advantages, such as clarity and directness, it is good to be aware of its limitations and consider other approaches when necessary. An example is when I saw two colleagues debate in a business meeting. One was using Active Voice, making her sound confrontational. The other used Passive Voice which made his arguments more diplomatic. This showed that the choice of voice could have an impact on how the writing is received. With Passive Voice, you can confuse readers, but they might just give up and stop reading.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Passive Voice

Passive voice in writing can have its advantages and disadvantages. In this section, we’ll explore the benefits of using passive voice as well as the drawbacks associated with it. By understanding the positive and negative aspects of passive voice, writers can make informed decisions about when and how to effectively utilize this grammatical construction.

Advantages of using Passive Voice in writing

Passive voice has several advantages that can upgrade the quality and effectiveness of the message. Primarily, it allows for an objective tone, valuable in scientific or academic writing. It shifts the emphasis onto the recipient of the action, creating importance or highlighting the impact. This technique is great in persuasive writing or for sensitive topics. Passive voice also helps create a formal and professional tone. It adds seriousness and authority to the message, which is useful in business or legal documents. Plus, it avoids assigning blame or responsibility, useful in situations where it’s inappropriate or unfair to single out someone. In summary, passive voice offers objectivity, emphasis, formality, and blame avoidance. But, it may not always be as attention-grabbing as other writing styles.

Disadvantages of using Passive Voice in writing

Passive Voice in writing brings with it some downsides. It can cause ambiguous writing, making it hard for readers to know who or what is doing the action. Plus, it can make sentences wordy and convoluted, with too many auxiliary verbs and passive forms of verbs. Further, it can weaken the writing’s credibility and authority.

Switching to active voice makes reading easier. The subject directly does an action, so understanding is simpler. And, there are fewer words used, making writing more concise.

To improve your writing, use active voice as much as you can. By giving your subjects agency and focusing on their actions, it will better capture your readers’ attention.

Pro Tip: If you’re overusing passive voice, try revising your sentences. Identify who or what is doing the action and phrase it in active voice. This can improve clarity and impact.

Active Voice Vs Passive Voice: Active Voice tells the news, Passive Voice hides it.

Active Voice Vs Passive Voice in Different Writing Styles

Active Voice Vs Passive Voice in Different Writing Styles: Discover the power of active voice in news articles and the elegance of passive voice in formal writing. Uncover how active voice emphasizes directness and authority, while passive voice conveys objectivity and formality. With examples and insights, we’ll explore the essential role active and passive voice play in shaping the tone and impact of various writing styles. Get ready to master the dynamic interplay between active and passive voice for effective communication.

Active Voice in news articles

News articles utilize active voice for enhanced readability. It emphasizes individuals and specific actions, making the information more concise. This allows readers to get the key points quickly.

It also conveys info more efficiently. Active voice gives a sense of urgency and immediacy, grabbing readers’ attention and keeping them engaged. It emphasizes actions and events, making the reporting more captivating.

Therefore, news articles usually utilize active voice.

Passive Voice in formal writing

In formal writing, passive voice is often preferred. This choice puts the focus on the object or recipient of the action, not the subject. It adds formality and objectivity.

Passive voice involves constructing sentences where the subject receives the action, not performing it. Instead of stating who does it, passive voice emphasizes what’s being done or has been done. This is done by using a form of "to be" plus the past participle of another verb.

Active voice can sound too direct or informal. Passive voice creates a more detached tone and is used in academic papers, scientific research articles, legal documents, etc.

Using passive voice in formal writing lets authors emphasize without drawing attention to them. It allows an objective tone and emphasizes actions and outcomes instead of personal involvement.

By using passive voice, writers convey information professionally and accurately. It maintains an objective tone that suits the style and purpose of their work.

When to Use Active Voice and When to Use Passive Voice

Knowing when to use active voice and when to use passive voice can greatly enhance your writing. In this section, we will explore the guidelines for using active voice and passive voice, providing insights on how to utilize each effectively. With a deeper understanding of these guidelines, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions about which voice to employ in different writing scenarios, ultimately strengthening the impact and clarity of your message.

Guidelines for using Active Voice

Active voice is a writing style that emphasizes the subject of a sentence performing the action. Clarity and direct communication are the key benefits of using active voice. Follow these guidelines to do so:

  1. Start with the subject.
  2. Use strong verbs.
  3. Keep sentences concise.
  4. Focus on clarity.
  5. Maintain consistency.
  6. Proofread carefully.

By following these rules, you can make your writing more effective and impactful. Plus, readers will be more engaged with the content.

Historically, active voice has been favored in literature and communication. It’s clear why: it provides a much clearer and engaging message. To make sure your written communication stands out, it’s essential to know how to use active voice.

Guidelines for using Passive Voice

Passive Voice, also known as a passive construction, is when the subject of a sentence receives the action of the verb instead of performing it. It is important to know how to use passive voice correctly.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Use Passive Voice when the subject is unknown, unimportant, or irrelevant.
  • To emphasize an object or receiver, use Passive Voice.
  • When explaining processes or procedures, focus on the object rather than the actor.
  • In scientific or technical writing, Passive Voice can create objectivity and impartiality.
  • Passive Voice can make writing more formal.
  • Don’t use too much Passive Voice as this can make the writing dull.

It’s essential to find the right balance between Active and Passive Voice. This depends on the purpose and desired tone of the writing. With this knowledge, writers can enhance their writing, add emphasis, and maintain objectivity. Master the usage of Passive Voice – it’s worth it!


So, active and passive voice are two writing styles. Active voice is when the subject does something, and it is normally better because it’s more exciting. But passive voice can be used to emphasize the action or the thing in the sentence. Therefore, it is key to understand the nuances and pick the right voice for the goal and the context of the writing.

Some Facts About Active Voice Vs Passive Voice:

  • ✅ Active voice emphasizes the subject as the doer of the action. (Source: Merriam-Webster)
  • ✅ Passive voice highlights the subject as the recipient of the action. (Source: Merriam-Webster)
  • ✅ Passive voice is often formed using a form of the verb “be” and the past participle. (Source: Merriam-Webster)
  • ✅ Passive voice can be useful when the agent of an action is unknown. (Source: Merriam-Webster)
  • ✅ Active voice is preferred in news writing to avoid stating accusations as fact. (Source: Merriam-Webster)

FAQs about Active Voice Vs Passive Voice?

What is the difference between active voice and passive voice?

Active voice is when the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed by the verb. Passive voice is when the subject is the person or thing acted on or affected by the verb’s action.

How is passive voice commonly formed?

Passive voice is often formed with a form of the verb “be” and the past participle of the verb.

When is passive voice useful?

Passive voice can be useful when emphasizing an action that has taken place or when the agent of an action is unknown.

Why is passive voice frequently used in news headlines?

Passive voice is often used in news headlines to put up front information that is known and to avoid stating accusations as fact.

Is passive voice criticized for expressing avoidance of responsibility?

Yes, passive voice is sometimes criticized for expressing the avoidance of responsibility or placing burden on the victim.

Can active voice be used while not mentioning the causative agent?

Yes, confusion can arise when active voice is used but the causative agent is not obvious.

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