Grammarly – Active Vs Passive Voice

Grammarly Active Vs Passive

Writing in the active voice is generally considered to be clearer and more direct. However, some great writers used passive voice when it made sense for the situation they were in.

It’s important to understand when to use passive voice in your own writing. To do this, we need to look at the relationship between a sentence’s subject and its verb.

The Subject and the Object

Using the active voice makes it clear who performs an action. It also creates an image in the reader’s mind that is more likely to stick. The dog chased the ball. In contrast, the sentence “The ball was chased by the dog” is a more traditional passive construction.

Passive voice is usually formed with an auxiliary verb such as was, have been, or will have been followed by the past participle of a verb. It can be used to emphasize an action that has already occurred or when the agent is unknown, such as in news coverage.

Although it’s generally advisable to avoid passive voice, it can have its place. Some writing conventions require it for clarity and tone. A good grammar checker will alert you to instances of passive voice and propose suggestions to replace it with a stronger alternative.

The Object and the Verb

Many teachers and professors malign the passive voice as a bad writing habit, but the truth is that it can be perfectly fine to use when it is necessary. The active voice is usually preferred in formal and academic writing, but passive sentences are perfectly acceptable if the subject can’t be known or doesn’t matter, such as in news stories about unidentified victims of crime.

The difference between the two is that in the active sentence, the subject performs the action; in the passive sentence, the subject receives the action. The subject is usually referred to with some form of the verb be, such as is or was. The verb is inserted after the subject, as in The dog bit the man or Jackie was given a gift by her mother.

This subtle difference can be difficult to detect in your own writing without a proofreading tool, like Grammarly. Using this tool to check your work can help you identify instances of passive voice and replace them with more concise, clearer sentences.

The Object and the Preposition

If the action is happening to a direct object (the person or thing that’s being acted on), it can still be written in passive voice. In this case, the performer of the verb can either be absent from the sentence altogether or appear in a prepositional phrase like “with.”

For example, it’s possible to write “The monkey is eating a banana” in active voice without adding “with the monkey.” However, you might want to rearrange the words in the sentence so that the grammatical subject appears first, followed by the direct object.

If you have a grammar checker that detects instances of passive voice, it can help you make the necessary adjustments to your writing. Grammarly’s free version can highlight passive sentences, and its premium service offers suggestions for more clear and concise writing. Try it for free to see what a difference Grammarly can make. Your writing will be clearer, more direct and much more precise.

The Object and the Direct Object

Grammarly’s full suite of writing feedback can help you identify and remove sentences written in passive voice. The tool can also suggest concise alternatives for auxiliary verbs and the past participle that often appear in passive sentences.

A sentence that uses the passive voice obscures the subject by placing the direct object after the predicate and the subject at the end of the sentence. It’s important to recognize this difference so that you can write more powerful sentences.

The active voice is the one in which the subject performs the action. For example, Peter proactively heads to the store to buy eggs so that he can follow through on his teacher’s request rather than waiting for her to tell him to do it. This shows that he takes responsibility for his actions. It’s also a way of using the show-don’t-tell principle. It’s one of the reasons why so many great writers like Ernest Hemingway, William Zinsser, and Stephen King favored the active voice over the passive voice.