It’s easy to understand why people might want to avoid active voice as well as active voice writing tips. After all, the passive voice can seem less aggressive and more polite. But there are good reasons to use active voice, and in this blog post, we’ll take a look at what they are. Plus, we’ll give you some tips on how to make the switch from passive to active writing. Let’s get started!
What is the Active Voice?
The active voice is when the subject of a sentence is performing the action. For example, “I am writing a blog post.” In this sentence, “I” (the subject) is doing the action of “writing.” The active voice is often seen as more direct and powerful than the passive voice. In the passive voice, the subject is acted upon, as in “A blog post is being written by me.”
While there are times when the passive voice is appropriate, such as when you want to de-emphasize the role of the subject, in general the active voice is preferable. It is more concise and easier to read, and it can help to make your writing sound more assertive and confident.
Why use the Active Voice?
The active voice is the “normal” way to write. In the active voice, the subject of the sentence does the verb: “I wrote the paper.” This is natural and easy to read. So why would anyone want to use the passive voice? The answer has to do with control. When you’re in charge, when you’re the one doing something, it’s easy to use the active voice.
But when you’re not in charge, when someone else is doing something or when something is happening that you don’t want to take responsibility for, it’s tempting to use the passive voice. “Mistakes were made.” The passive voice distances you from what’s going on, and it can be used to intentionally mislead readers by making it unclear who is responsible for an action. So use the active voice whenever you can. It will make your writing clearer and more persuasive.
How to Identify the Active Voice
The active voice is easy to recognize. It’s when the subject of the sentence is doing the verb. For example, “I threw the ball.” The doer (I) is the subject of the sentence and did the action (threw). In contrast, the passive voice happens when the subject is being acted upon.
For example, “The ball was thrown by me.” Now, the doer (me) is not the subject. The ball is. And that’s what’s happening in a lot of marketing these days. The marketer is trying to sound important by making their product or service the subject, when really, it’s the customer who should be front and center.
Identifying and using the active voice can help you create more powerful sentences and avoid sounding like everyone else. So next time you sit down to write, see if you can make your customer the star of the show.
How to Write in the Active Voice Writing Tips
The best way to learn how to write in the active voice is by studying how other writers do it. Read a variety of books and pay attention to the sentence structure. Notice how the subject is always placed before the verb and how there are very few if any unnecessarily long or complicated words.
As you read, identify the instances where the active voice is used and try to mimic that style in your own writing. It may take some practice, but eventually you will be able to write in the active voice naturally. And once you master this skill, your writing will be more concise, clear, and engaging.
Examples of sentences written in the Active and Passive Voices
- The cashier counted the money. (active voice)
- The money was counted by the cashier. (passive voice)
- The lamp was knocked over by a gust of wind that came through the window. (passive voice)
- A gust of wind that came through the window knocked over the lamp. (active voice)
An active sentence has a clear subject that is doing the verb. A passive sentence has a verb that is being done to its subject. Seth Godin illustrates this with the following example, “The lamb was eaten by the lion” vs. “The lion ate the lamb.” In the first sentence, the lamb is being eaten; in the second, the lion is doing the eating.
It can be harder to spot a passive sentence because sometimes there isn’t a clear subject doing the verb. For example, “Mistakes were made” is passive because you don’t know who made the mistakes. In general, active sentences are shorter and clearer than passive sentences, and they are also often more persuasive. So, if you can make your point using an active sentence, it’s usually best to do so.
When to use the Passive Voice instead of the Active Voice
The passive voice is a grammatical construction (like the active voice) whereby the subject of a sentence is represented as the recipient (not the doer) of the verb’s action. In other words, the subject is “passive” with respect to the action. The passive voice is often used in scientific writing, as well as in Business correspondence. The following two sentences are examples of the active and passive voice, respectively:
Active Voice: A terrible storm destroyed many homes.
Passive Voice: Many homes were destroyed by the storm.
As you can see, the active voice sentence places emphasis on who or what did the destroying, while the passive voice sentence places emphasis on the homes that were destroyed. In this example, we see that using the passive voice can be more concise than using the active voice. It can also be useful for “downplaying” certain actions or events. For instance, if your company has been accused of fraud, you might want to issue a statement in the passive voice: “Mistakes were made.” This downplays the seriousness of the situation and makes it sound like an honest mistake rather than an intentional act of wrongdoing.
So when should you use the passive voice? In general, use it when you want to:
- Be more concise
- Emphasize the object rather than the subject
- Downplay certain actions or events
- Avoid naming who did something (perhaps because you don’t know or it’s not important).
With that said, there are also times when you should avoid using the passive voice. For instance, if you want to make something sound more exciting or urgent, use the active voice instead: “An emergency fund has been set up to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.”
The passive voice (“An emergency fund has been set up to help those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey”) sounds flat and uninteresting in comparison. So remember: when in doubt, go with the active voice!
Tips for improving your writing using the Active Voice
Active voice is usually more powerful than passive voice. When you use active voice, the subject of the sentence is doing the verb (e.g., “I am writing a blog post”), whereas in passive voice, the subject of the sentence is having the verb done to them (e.g., “A blog post is being written by me”). Active voice is usually more direct and personal, and it can make your writing more persuasive and compelling. So if you want to improve your writing, one of the best things you can do is to start using active voice more often.
Here are some tips that will help you improve writing using the active voice:
- Use active voice. It’s more direct, more personal, and often more powerful.
- Write micro stories. The best writing more vivid and interesting.
- Be concise. Don’t use more words than you need to get your point across. This isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort.
- Edit ruthlessly. Once you’ve written something, go back and cut out anything that isn’t absolutely essential. This will make your writing much more effective.
Focus on telling stories that are really short—just a few sentences long. These microstories are often more memorable and engaging than longer ones, so they’re worth paying attention to.
- Use strong verbs can help to make your writing more vivid and interesting. To be concise, focus on using only as many words as you need to get your point across—no more, no less.
Once you’ve written something, don’t be afraid to cut out anything that doesn’t serve a purpose or add value. Editing ruthlessly will result in cleaner, sharper writing that pack a bigger punch. Implement these tips into your writing process and you’ll see an improvement in the quality of your work.
Common mistakes made when using the Active Voice
The active voice is when the subject of a sentence performs the verb. The passive voice is when the subject of a sentence is acted upon by the verb. For example, “I am writing a blog post” is in the active voice, whereas “A blog post is being written by me” is in the passive voice. Many people believe that the active voice is always better than the passive voice, but this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, there are some cases where the passive voice can be more effective. However, there are also some common mistakes that people make when using the active voice.
- Using the active voice when it isn’t appropriate. For example, if you are writing about a sensitive topic, such as child abuse, it might be better to use the passive voice. This is because the active voice can sound accusatory and insensitive. A
- Use unnecessarily long and complicated sentences in the active voice. This can make your writing sound convoluted and difficult to understand.
- People sometimes use the active voice when they should be using the passive voice. For instance, if you want to emphasize an object rather than the subject, it would be better to use the passive voice.
Overall, it’s important to use both the active and passive voice in your writing, and to use each one appropriately.
The Difference Between the Passive and Active Voice in scientific writing
In scientific writing, there are two basic ways of constructing a sentence: the passive voice and the active voice. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is acted upon by the verb. For example, “The experiment was conducted by the scientist.” In the active voice, on the other hand, the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb.
So, it would read, “The scientist conducted the experiment.” The passive voice has its place in scientific writing – especially in lab reports – but it’s important to remember that using too much of it can make your writing sound dense and difficult to follow. In general, it’s best to stick to the active voice whenever possible. Not only will your writing be more concise, but it will also be easier for readers to understand.
What is the Future of the Active Voice in Writing
The Active Voice is the future of writing. In a world where the internet gives everyone a platform to share their thoughts and ideas, it’s more important than ever to be clear, concise, and persuasive in your writing. The Active Voice helps you do just that. By using short, declarative sentences, it forces you to be clear and direct in your writing.
And by avoiding jargon and obscure language, it makes your writing more accessible to a wider audience. In an increasingly noisy world, the Active Voice provides a much-needed clarity and simplicity. It’s no wonder that so many of the world’s most popular writers and thinkers – from Seth Godin to Sheryl Sandberg – have embraced the Active Voice. In an ever-changing world, the Active Voice is the future of writing.
How to Make the Active Voice Work For You
The active voice is when the subject of a sentence is performing the verb. The passive voice is when the subject is being acted upon by the verb. For example, “I am writing a blog post” is in the active voice, whereas “A blog post is being written by me” is in the passive voice.
In general, the active voice is more concise and easier to read, so it’s generally considered better writing. However, there are times when the passive voice can be used effectively. For instance, if you want to emphasize the importance of something, using the passive voice can help to create a sense of gravity: “Two hundred people were killed in the tornado.”
In addition, the passive voice can be used to make a sentence sound more formal: “The reports shall be filed by 5 p.m.” Ultimately, whether you use the active or passive voice depends on your purpose for writing. If you’re not sure which to use, err on the side of using the active voice. It’s usually better to be clear and concise than stuffy and dull.
The active voice is a more concise and straightforward way of writing, and it’s generally the better option. However, there are times when the passive voice can be useful. It’s important to use both voices in your writing, and to use each one appropriately. In an increasingly noisy world, the Active Voice provides clarity and simplicity. Ultimately, whether you use the active or passive voice depends on your purpose for writing. If you’re not sure which to use, err on the side of using the active voice. It’s usually better to be clear and concise than stuffy and dull.
What are the benefits of using active voice?
Using active voice can make your writing more concise and emphatic. It can also help you avoid ambiguity, because the subject is always clearly identified.
How can I use active voice in my writing?
There are a few simple tricks to using active voice in your writing. First, make sure that the subject is doing the action, not being acted upon. Second, use strong verbs to convey the action. Third, keep your sentences short and to the point.
What are some common mistakes people make when using active voice?
One common mistake is to use too many passive constructions in a row. This can make your writing sound choppy and confusing. Another mistake is to use intransitive verbs (verbs that don’t have a direct object) in active voice sentences. This can create ambiguity and make your sentences difficult to understand.
Can you give me some examples of active voice?
Yes! Here are a few examples of active voice:
- The cashier counted the money.
- Jimmy caught the ball.
- People voted for the candidate.
- The teacher explained the concept.
- I will book the tickets.
- You should try the new restaurant.
- He can drive the car.
As you can see, active voice is simple and straightforward. Just remember to make the subject the doer of the action, and use strong verbs to convey the action. Keep your sentences short and to the point, and you’ll be using active voice like a pro in no time!