Passive Voice – How to Bore Your Reader Or Not

Have you ever submitted a manuscript to an editor and one of the remarks lines, in case you acquire any, is which you want to do away with maximum if now no longer all passive voice sentences?

“Uh-hem.” Yes, this is me elevating my hand, waving it withinside the air for all to take notice.

After performing some research, I discovered out that passive voice is the primary mistake new writers make.

“Well, gee, someone ought to have advised me that earlier than I completed writing the ones 350 pages.”

Now you’re sitting there for your couch or to your table chair wondering, “What is passive voice?”


Try this quiz to test your mastery of the passive voice in the past simple tense.

Good query and right here is the answer.

Passive voice defined: Passive voice, in writing, outcomes from the overuse of the “to be” verbs: am, is, become, were, be, being and been. Passive voice lacks the SVO sample of a sentence.

I realize, I realize. “What is the SVO sample?”

SVO stands for Subject Verb Object sample. A good, clean sentence follows this structure. The sentence starts with a Subject that plays an motion, then a Verb that’s the motion, and sooner or later it has an Object that gets the motion. (The item isn’t constantly there.)

Your head remains spinning so allow me come up with an instance of a sentence with the ideal use of SVO.

1. The vehicle ran Jane over.

Subject = vehicle, Verb = ran, Object = Jane

The following is awful SVO sample which leads to passive voice.

2. Jane become run over through the vehicle.

Subject = Jane, Verb = become, Object = Car

Here is your visible clue. Close your eyes and visualize the phrase “ran”. You can see a person lifting their legs, their ft hitting the pavement, and palms pumping.

Close your eyes and visualize the phrase “become”. You can see nada, zero, and empty, absolutely blank.

A reader will by no means be capable of near his or her eyes and envision your passive verbs (for one can’t see “be” or a image that is going with “is”).

Passive voice is “telling” and maintains your reader disengaged out of your tale. Often, it weakens a sentence through the use of extra phrases than necessary. Just have a take a observe our examples above.

Passive voice is the other of lively voice.


Try this quiz to test your mastery of the passive voice in the past simple tense.

“What is lively voice?”

So satisfied you asked.
Active voice defined: Active voice outcomes from using motion verbs like run, jump, hit, love, circulate crash, do away with, throw, etc. Active voice is active and engages the reader.

A reader may be capable of envision motion verbs.

Let`s see a few extra examples.

Active: The door hit Jane withinside the face.

Passive: Jane become hit withinside the face through the door.

Passive: Jane become hit withinside the face.

Do you notice the distinction? First, there are fewer phrases used withinside the lively sentence. Second, withinside the passive voice, Jane appears likes a dunce due to the fact she is sitting there waiting (passively) for the door to hit her. Third, withinside the lively voice, the door (actively) is going and hits Jane. Slam! In the second one passive voice instance, what’s missing? Who or what hit Jane withinside the face? As a reader, I type of need to realize that, otherwise, I will suppose she bumped into a stiff wind or useless air.

One different trace that shows using passive voice is the phrase “through” in a sentence. See the subsequent examples.


Try this quiz to test your mastery of the passive voice in the past simple tense.

Some extra examples:

Active: Jane blocked Dick’s view of the lock together along with her body.

Passive: Dick’s view of the lock become blocked.

Passive: Dick’s view of the lock become blocked through Jane’s body.

Active: Dick kissed the nape of her neck.

Passive: Dick become kissing the nape of her neck.

Passive: Her nape become being kissed through Dick.

Now that I drilled lively as opposed to passive voice into your head, there are instances whilst it’s miles suitable to apply passive voice or paperwork of “to be”.

“When is it ok to apply passive voice?”

Passive voice is how we communicate so the use of passive voice in conversation is suitable. (The reality that we communicate in passive voice explains why we make the error of writing our fiction the identical way.)
Use paperwork of “to be” to create bright descriptions of your subjects.

Example: Jane become a tall, leggy female with long, blonde hair.

Use the paperwork of “to be” to explicit ongoing motion.

Example: Dick become already going for walks past due whilst he locked his keys in his vehicle.

Example: Jane is shifting to Seattle to paintings for Starbucks.

Now which you realize the distinction among passive (awful) and lively (good) voice, how do you restoration your tale?

Many grammar test packages have settings which you choose to inspire you to cast off the passive voice sentences. Find that setting, flip it on, and watch what number of sentences it underlines in inexperienced. (Word underlines the awful grammar with a inexperienced line.) How do I realize this?
“Uh hem.” Yup, this is me waving my palms again. I write romantic suspense and the closing issue I need to do is throw my reader out of the tale due to the fact I wrote a “telling”, non-lively sentence.


Try this quiz to test your mastery of the passive voice in the past simple tense.

Can you simply image it?

Bad: Charley become being chased via the woodland through a knife-wielding lunatic.

Good: A knife-wielding lunatic chased Charley via the woodland.

If you do now no longer have a grammar checker then undergo your written paintings and spotlight all the “to be” verbs (am, is, are, become, were, be, being, and been), then try and cast off among one 1/2 of and thirds of your passive voice.

Converting passive voice sentences to lively voice sentences is reasonably easy. When you discover a passive voice sentence the item may be at the start of the sentence rather than the end.

Find the problem (who or what’s doing the motion) and placed that phrase first. Find the item (what the problem is doing) and placed that on the end.


Try this quiz to test your mastery of the passive voice in the past simple tense.

Example: Dick become bitten through the dog.

Example: The dog bit Dick.

Another good way to cut down on passive voice is to combine sentences, or revise them to convey your original thought in a new, more powerful, active way.

In conclusion, remember this: passive voice “tells” the story, while active voice “shows” the story to your reader. If you can commit this to memory, you are on your way to writing good fiction and future published author.

Worked for me!