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Strengthening Your Writing ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE NEC FACET Center.

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Presentation on theme: "Strengthening Your Writing ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE NEC FACET Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strengthening Your Writing ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE NEC FACET Center

2 Subjects and Verbs In most sentences, the subject is the “doer” of the action described by the verb. In most sentences, the subject is the “doer” of the action described by the verb. Mary ordered a pepperoni and mushroom pizza. Mary ordered a pepperoni and mushroom pizza.

3 More Subjects and Verbs However, in some sentences the subject is not the “doer” of the action. However, in some sentences the subject is not the “doer” of the action. Instead, the subject may be someone or something to which the action is done. Instead, the subject may be someone or something to which the action is done.

4 Example A pepperoni and mushroom pizza was ordered by Mary. A pepperoni and mushroom pizza was ordered by Mary.

5 Voice Voice is the relationship of the subject in a sentence to the action in the sentence. Is the subject the “doer” or the “receiver”? Voice is the relationship of the subject in a sentence to the action in the sentence. Is the subject the “doer” or the “receiver”? Two types of voice exist: active voice and passive voice. Two types of voice exist: active voice and passive voice.

6 Think about the names. To remember the difference between active and passive voice, begin by thinking about the terms. To remember the difference between active and passive voice, begin by thinking about the terms.

7 Think about the names. An active person is generally a busy person --a “doer.” An active person is generally a busy person --a “doer.”

8 Think about the names. A passive person is less in control of life, letting things happen to him or her. They don’t confront things directly. A passive person is less in control of life, letting things happen to him or her. They don’t confront things directly. Don’t be passive-aggressive like this person. Say things directly.

9 Active Voice In the active voice, the subject carries out the action of the verb. In the active voice, the subject carries out the action of the verb. Cavemen invented the wheel. Cavemen invented the wheel. Notice that “Cavemen,” the subject, is a “doer” in this sentence. Notice that “Cavemen,” the subject, is a “doer” in this sentence.

10 Passive Voice In the passive voice, the subject is acted upon. In the passive voice, the subject is acted upon. The wheel was invented by cavemen. The wheel was invented by cavemen. Notice that wheel, the subject, is not doing anything in this sentence. Notice that wheel, the subject, is not doing anything in this sentence. Ahhhh, this is the life!

11 Verb Forms Cavemen invented the wheel. (active) Cavemen invented the wheel. (active) The wheel was invented by cavemen. (passive) The wheel was invented by cavemen. (passive) Notice that the verb invented stands alone in an active voice sentence, but it is preceded by was (or another form of the verb to be) in a passive voice sentence. Notice that the verb invented stands alone in an active voice sentence, but it is preceded by was (or another form of the verb to be) in a passive voice sentence.

12 Passive Verb Rules Passive Verb Rules The passive form of a verb always consists of a form of the verb “be” (is, are, was, were, will be, etc.) plus the past participle of the main verb. The passive form of a verb always consists of a form of the verb “be” (is, are, was, were, will be, etc.) plus the past participle of the main verb.

13 As a writer, you need to be a “be” keeper Was Were Is Are

14 Click on the “be” smoker to avoid the sting of passive voice sentences! The patients are examined by the doctors. The patients are examined by the doctors. The doctors examine the patients. The doctors examine the patients. Don’t worry “Be”….while this surgery is transformative, when we’re done with you, you’ll be much more active than you ever imagined.

15 Click on the “be” smoker to avoid the sting of passive voice sentences! A sentence was pronounced by the judge. A sentence was pronounced by the judge. The judge pronounced a sentence. The judge pronounced a sentence. Good job! You put the “be” to bed.

16 Click on the “be” smoker to avoid the sting of passive voice sentences! The future will be predicted by Madame Zelda. The future will be predicted by Madame Zelda. Madame Zelda will predict the future. Madame Zelda will predict the future. It doesn’t take a fortune teller to predict the future of this “be”…….

17 Tenses and Passive Voice is examined (present tense) is examined (present tense) was pronounced (past tense) was pronounced (past tense) will be predicted (future tense) will be predicted (future tense) Notice that passive voice can exist in more than one tense. Notice that passive voice can exist in more than one tense. This knowledge will help you spot your own passive voice sentences. This knowledge will help you spot your own passive voice sentences.

18 You did an excellent job smoking those “be’s.” You did an excellent job smoking those “be’s.” But as you know, bees do more than sting, they also make honey. But as you know, bees do more than sting, they also make honey. There are a few times when you may want to use passive voice……. There are a few times when you may want to use passive voice…….

19 Reasons for Using Passive Voice Sometimes the writer may not know exactly who performed an action. Sometimes the writer may not know exactly who performed an action. The thatched cottage was built in the fifteenth century. The thatched cottage was built in the fifteenth century.

20 Reasons for Using Passive Voice Sometimes writers may want to emphasize the person or object acted upon rather than the “doer” of the action. Sometimes writers may want to emphasize the person or object acted upon rather than the “doer” of the action. This is especially true in scientific writing. This is especially true in scientific writing.

21 Example Dr. Campbell and Dr. Gonzalez placed the cells in three different environments. Dr. Campbell and Dr. Gonzalez placed the cells in three different environments. –This sentence is in the active voice. But the writer may want to emphasize the research itself, not the doer of the research. The cells were placed in three different environments. The cells were placed in three different environments. –Now the sentence is in the passive voice. This makes the writing seem more objective and fact based.

22 While passive voice is sometimes appropriate, the active voice will convey your ideas more clearly and directly. Active voice sentences require less words than passives ones. While passive voice is sometimes appropriate, the active voice will convey your ideas more clearly and directly. Active voice sentences require less words than passives ones. Your writing instructor will expect you to consistently use active voice. So make it a habit to avoid running into trouble. Your writing instructor will expect you to consistently use active voice. So make it a habit to avoid running into trouble.

23 How to change passive sentences to active: Step 1: Find who or what is performing the action Step 1: Find who or what is performing the action In passive voice sentences, the subject is acted upon. You can usually (but not always) find the agent performing the action after the word “by.” In passive voice sentences, the subject is acted upon. You can usually (but not always) find the agent performing the action after the word “by.” The banana is being eaten by the monkey. The banana is being eaten by the monkey. –The monkey is performing the action.

24 How to change passive sentences to active…. Step 2: Make the agent performing the action the subject of the sentence and change the verb. Step 2: Make the agent performing the action the subject of the sentence and change the verb. The banana is being eaten by the monkey. The banana is being eaten by the monkey. The monkey is eating the banana. The monkey is eating the banana.

25 How to change passive sentences to active…. If there is no “by” in the sentence, then the agent performing the action has been left out of the sentence and is only implied. If there is no “by” in the sentence, then the agent performing the action has been left out of the sentence and is only implied. –For example: The banana has been eaten. (By the monkey) If the agent performing the action is missing, you must supply the subject to make the sentence active. If the agent performing the action is missing, you must supply the subject to make the sentence active. –The monkey has eaten the banana. Now you know how to quit monkeying around with passive voice sentences. Let’s practice your skills.

26 Change each sentence from passive to active: People are rarely attacked by bears. People are rarely attacked by bears. Bears rarely attack people. Bears rarely attack people. We bears are so misunderstood. All we really want are hugs and honey.

27 Change each sentence from passive to active: The snowman was melted. The snowman was melted. The sun melted the snowman. The sun melted the snowman. Oh dear, I am getting the feeling I may never see the sun set over the Grand Canyon. This sentence does not have a subject performing the action. You must supply the subject.

28 Change each sentence from passive to active: We were enthralled by the hot dog eating contest. We were enthralled by the hot dog eating contest. The hot dog eating contest enthralled us. The hot dog eating contest enthralled us.

29 Decide if each sentence is active or passive. If it is passive, change it to active. The results of the race will be published in the newspaper. The results of the race will be published in the newspaper. –Passive  The newspaper will publish the results of the race. Jessica will take her finals next week. Jessica will take her finals next week. –Active

30 Decide if each sentence is active or passive. If it is passive, change it to active. David and Kevin were stopped by the police officer. David and Kevin were stopped by the police officer. –Passive  The police officer stopped Kevin and David. Computers are used in the classroom. Computers are used in the classroom. –Passive  Students use computers in the classroom.

31 So remember….don’t be passive, don’t be a wallflower….. Get your verbs active and let them dance!!!


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