Active and Passive Voice

EnglishSentence Structure: Elements of Grammar

Introduction

In English, verbs have a feature known as "grammatical voice." It may appear either actively or passively depending on the context. When you use the active voice, you put the focus on the person or thing that is responsible for carrying out the action of the verb. In contrast, the passive voice places more attention on the receiver of the action or the result of the action. Children are often taught in schools to use an active voice in their writing since it is more direct and stronger.

Additionally, the active voice is strongly recommended in the majority of academic publications, and its usage is often paired with the first person (we or I). However, there are circumstances in which the passive voice is appropriate. This tutorial will explain the difference between the two, and it will also offer some examples to illustrate when you could choose to use either one while writing or speaking.

Active Voice

Active voice writing is more natural to read and simpler to understand as the sentences flow more smoothly. It emphasises the subject of the statement and makes it more direct and shorter. Using an active voice will make you seem more in command of the subject, which will encourage the reader to have more faith in what you have to say.

In general, either one of them can be used in the English language, but the advantages of using an active voice for the reader are as follows−

  • It engages the readers in the action or puts the readers into the situation.

  • Creates a stronger link between the action and the reader.

  • Helps those for whom English is a second language to better understand the message of the texts by making it simpler for them to read and absorb the content.

Advantages of using Active voice by writers are as follows−

  • Uses fewer words, which results in writing that is clearer, shorter, and more effective.

  • Produces a story that moves more quickly, which makes writing it simpler and makes reading more interesting for the reader.

  • Makes the statement easier to understand and helps in preventing grammatical errors.

When you write a sentence using an active voice, the subject comes first and is the one who carries out the action. Thus, it is often preferable to use an active voice as it is easier to understand and the reader gets an opportunity to visualise what is happening in the text.

Performer of Action + Action = Active

Examples

  • The manager hired new employees

  • Divya is washing the clothes.

  • She will deliver the order.

  • Reporters write news reports.

  • Maria was helping the old lady to cross the road when the bus.

When compared to the passive voice, the active voice has a more direct tone. As a result, it is often used both in spoken and written communication. On the other hand, there are circumstances in which you can find that using the passive voice is not only more convenient but also more appropriate.

Passive Voice

Though using an active voice will give your writing more impact, there are times when you may want to use a passive voice instead like

  • If you want to diminish the effect of a sentence or add some variation to a longer piece in order to avoid repetition, you could use the passive voice.

  • Politicians, businesses, and other officials often employ passive voices when they want to ease a negative message or divert responsibility.

  • The identity of the performer is either unknown, unimportant, or completely evident.

  • Action is more important than who is the performer.

Examples

  • The jewelry shop was robbed yesterday. (The action robbed becomes more important)

  • My purse got stolen. (Who stole the purse is unknown)

  • The baby was bathed and fed. (who bathed the baby is unknown)

The sentence's subject receives the action in a passive voice. When a statement is written in the passive voice, the person who actually carried out the action may or might not be recognised later in the sentence. While writing a passive sentence, the person or object that is affected comes first, and the performer is placed in at the very end, introduced by the preposition "by." One of the several forms of "to be" serves as a cue for the passive form of the verb.

  • New employees were hired by the manager.

  • The clothes are being washed by Divya.

  • The order will be delivered by her.

  • News reports are written by reporters.

  • The old lady was being helped by Maria to cross the roads when the bus came.

Conclusion

Practice is the best way to acquire knowledge, and knowing when to use an active vs passive voice is no exception. It's true that there are situations in which using the passive voice is appropriate, but it happens a lot less often. It is also important to highlight that there is no inherent problem with employing either the active or the passive voice in a sentence.

In general, either one may be used in English without raising any eyebrows, unless, of course, one of the options sounds particularly odd. The active voice is normally chosen in most contexts since it is typically shorter and more straightforward than the passive voice. On the other hand, the passive voice may be useful in some circumstances, particularly when it is necessary to draw attention to the receiver of the action.

FAQs

Qns 1. What are active voice sentences?

Ans. Active voice sentences are used to emphasise the importance of the subject of a sentence. In active voice sentences, the subject (performer) comes first and is the one who carries out the action that the remaining sentence describes.

For example− Marie is baking a brownie.

Qns 2. What is the importance of an active voice?

Ans. Using an active voice in your writing will make you seem more in command of the subject, which will encourage the reader to have more faith in what you have to say. Active voice writing is more natural to read and simpler to understand as the sentences flow more smoothly. It makes the statement easier to understand and helps in preventing grammatical errors. It emphasises more on the subject of the sentence and makes it more direct and shorter.

Qns 3. What are passive voice sentences?

Ans. Passive voice sentences are the ones that give emphasis on the receiver of the action. When constructing a passive sentence, the person or object being affected comes first, and the performer is placed in at the very end, introduced by the preposition "by."

For example− A brownie is being baked by Marry.

Qns 4. What is the importance of the passive voice?

Ans. The passive voice is important if you want to diminish the effect of a sentence or add some variation to a longer piece in order to avoid repetition, you could use the passive voice. It is also used when the identity of the performer is either unknown, unimportant, or completely evident. In passive voice sentences, the receiver of the action is given more importance.

Qns 5. In which grammatical voice does the reader get an opportunity to visualise what is happening in the text?

Ans. Active voice.

raja
Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47

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