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Active and Passive Voice

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Presentation on theme: "Active and Passive Voice"— Presentation transcript:

1 Active and Passive Voice

2 What is “voice”? There are two different “voices” used in the English language. The “voice” of a piece of writing is determined by the way the verb is used in the sentences. The two “voices” in the English language are “active” and “passive.”

3 Definition Active voice: Active voice occurs when the subject of the sentence is performing the action of the verb. Example: The chef cooked the fish to perfection. Subject: chef Verb: cooked The subject is doing the action of the verb

4 Definition Passive voice: Passive voice occurs when the subject is not doing the action of the sentence but rather is being acted upon. Example: The fish was cooked to perfection by the chef. Subject: fish Verb: was cooked The fish did not do the action. It is being acted upon. Passive voice sentences contain a “to be” verb that functions as a helping verb.

5 Which voice do we use? For your writing, you should use the active voice when it is at all possible. A sentence written in the active voice is clearer and more direct than a sentence written in the passive voice. Sentences written in the active voice are generally shorter.

6 When to use the passive voice
There are some instances when you should use the passive voice: When the doer of the action is unknown. The lights were left on. We don’t know who left on the lights. When the receiver of the action is more important than who is doing the action. The gift was delivered this morning. The gift is more important that who is delivering it. When the doer of the action is someone you don’t want to name. I was given the wrong directions. You don’t want to blame anyone for giving you the wrong directions.

7 Identifying voice in sentences
Find the verb and the subject of the clause? Is the subject doing the action of the verb? Yes: the sentence is written in active voice No: the sentence is written in passive voice Example: Dave hit the ball over the fence. The ball was hit over the fence.

8 Changing from passive to active voice
1. Find the action verb of the sentence. The statue is visited every year by hundreds of people. Action verb = “visited” 2. Determine who is really doing the action. (look for a prepositional phrase that begins with “by”) “By hundreds of people” 3. Rewrite the sentence with whomever or whatever is performing the action as the subject of the sentence. Hundreds of people visit the statue every year.

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