What are active and passive voice?

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Using active and passive voice
What are active and passive voice?
Active voice
Passive voice
Retained object
Uses of active and passive voice
Active-voice verbs
Passive-voice verbs
Review A
Review B
What are active and passive voice?
Like people, verbs can be
Harry tosses
the ball.
active
Jill fell in the mud.
or
passive
Jim is confused by
the question.
Phil has been hit
by a snowball.
What are active and passive voice?
Voice is the form a verb takes to show whether
the subject of the verb . . .
performs the action
Subject
Verb
Chef Tanaka prepares the meal.
or receives the action
Subject
Verb
The meal is prepared by Chef Tanaka.
What are active and passive voice?
Active voice
When the subject of a verb performs the action,
the verb is in the active voice.
Subject
Active-voice
verb
The tornado damaged many
homes in the area.
The subject tornado performs the
action of damaging.
What are active and passive voice?
Active voice
A transitive verb in the active voice has a direct
object, which tells who or what receives the
action.
Verb
Direct
object
Carol has
adoptedthe
thepuppy.
puppy.
has adopted
The subject Carol performs the
action.
The direct object puppy receives
the action.
What are active and passive voice?
Passive voice
When the subject of a verb receives the action,
the verb is in the passive voice.
Subject
Passive-voice verb
Many homes in the area were damaged by
the tornado.
The subject homes
receives the action of
being damaged.
What are active and passive voice?
Passive voice
Passive voice constructions include
form of be
+
past participle
were returned
Other helping verbs may also be included.
helping verb +
form of be
+
past participle
have been returned
What are active and passive voice?
Passive voice
Passive voice constructions include a form of be,
the past participle of the verb, and sometimes
other helping verbs.
Form
of be
Past
participle
The paintings were returned to the museum.
Helping Form
of be
verb
Past
participle
The paintings have been returned to the
museum.
What are active and passive voice?
Passive voice
A verb in the passive voice does not have a direct
object.
Subject
Passivevoice verb
The puppy
hasbeen
beenadopted.
adopted.
puppy has
The subject puppy receives the
action.
What are active and passive voice?
Passive voice
Sometimes a verb in the passive voice is followed
by a prepositional phrase that begins with by and
tells who or what performs the action.
Passive-voice
verb
Prepositional
phrase
His watch was repaired. by a jeweler.
The prepositional phrase tells you that a
jeweler performed the action of repairing.
What are active and passive voice?
Passive voice
Sometimes, a passive sentence does not indicate
the performer of the action.
Passive-voice
verb
The Hoover Dam was built in the
1930s.
The performer of the action is not given.
What are active and passive voice?
Retained object
When a sentence in the active voice has both an
indirect object and a direct object . . .
Active-voice
verb
Indirect
object
Direct
object
Ms. Cook gave each student a folder.
either object can become the subject when the
sentence is put in the passive voice.
Passive-voice
Passive-voice
Subject
Subject verb verb
Each
A
folder
student
was given
was given
to each
a folder
student
(by(by
Ms.Ms.
Cook).
Cook).
What are active and passive voice?
Retained object
When an active sentence with both a direct and
an indirect object is put in the passive voice, the
object that does not become the subject serves
as the retained object.
Active
voice
Indirect object Direct object
Ms. Cook gave each student a folder.
Subject
Passive
voice
Retained object
Each student was given a folder.
What are active and passive voice?
On Your Own
Rewrite each sentence in the voice shown before the item
number.
(active)
1. The movie review was edited by Lenny.
(passive) 2. Our entire class signed the letter.
(passive) 3. My grandfather planted this garden.
(active)
4. The bike has been repaired by my older sister.
(active)
5. The tennis tournament was won by Tyler.
(active)
6. We were given a tour by Ms. Hendrix.
[End of Section]
Uses of active and passive voice
Active-voice verbs emphasize the action and the
performer of the action.
Active
voice
The optician adjusted the eyeglasses.
Emphasis on the optician and the adjusting
Passive-voice verbs emphasize the receiver of
the action.
The eyeglasses were adjusted by the
Passive
voice
optician.
Emphasis on the eyeglasses, which receive
the action
Uses of active and passive voice
Active-voice verbs
Writers prefer the active voice because it is more
forceful and more direct.
Active
voice
The group has reached a decision.
Forceful and direct
Passive
voice
A decision has been reached by the
group.
Not very forceful or direct
Uses of active and passive voice
Active-voice verbs
The active voice is also more concise than the
passive voice. Since active-voice verbs take fewer
words, they sound less awkward.
Active
voice
Gina asked me to go to the game.
Clear and concise
Passive
voice
I was asked by Gina to go to the game.
Awkward sounding
Uses of active and passive voice
Passive-voice verbs
In general, you should avoid using the passive
voice since sentences in the passive voice can
sound awkward and weak.
Awkward
Better
(passivevoice)
voice)
(active
Cynthia
the lawnthis
this
The lawnwill
willmow
be mowed
weekend.
weekend by Cynthia.
Better
Weak
(active
(passivevoice)
voice)
The
A special
little boy
bonegave
was the
given
dogtoa the
special
dog
bone.
by the little boy.
Uses of active and passive voice
Passive-voice verbs
The passive voice does have its place, though.
Use the passive voice when
• you do not know who performed the action
Appropriate
passive voice
Three microscopes have been taken
from the science lab.
The writer does not know who took the
microscopes.
Uses of active and passive voice
Passive-voice verbs
Use the passive voice when
• you do not want to reveal the performer of the
action
Appropriate
passive voice
Several flat notes were hit during the
opening number.
The writer does not want to say who
hit the flat notes.
Uses of active and passive voice
Passive-voice verbs
Use the passive voice when
• you want to emphasize the receiver of the
action rather than the performer
Appropriate
passive voice
Lasers are used in communication,
industry, and medicine.
The writer wants to emphasize the
lasers, not who is using them.
Uses of active and passive voice
On Your Own
Identify each verb as active or passive voice. Rewrite each
weak passive-voice sentence in the active voice. If the
passive voice is appropriate, leave the sentence as is.
_____ 1. The chickens are being fed by the farmer.
_____ 2. A lovely plant has been left on my doorstep!
_____ 3. The manager had hung a large, colorful poster in
the store window.
_____ 4. The chapter on oceans was carefully read by Tim.
_____ 5. My brother has been sending me letters from
college.
[End of Section]
Review A
For each sentence, tell whether the boldfaced verb is in the
active or the passive voice.
1. The choir director immediately noticed Linda’s excellent
singing voice.
2. Dr. Julia Gold is respected by her colleagues.
3. The missing money was replaced in the middle of the
night.
4. Our group will perform a skit about the founding of the
Jamestown settlement.
5. Has the basketball team really been practicing for two
hours?
Review B
Identify each sentence as active or passive voice. Rewrite
each weak passive-voice sentence in the active voice. If the
passive voice is appropriate, leave the sentence as is.
_____ 1. We were hoping for clearer skies for the weekend.
_____ 2. Special effects are often used to create excitement
in Hollywood blockbusters.
_____ 3. The test results were told to us by the principal.
_____ 4. Bill has carefully reviewed the chapter on
constitutional amendments.
_____ 5. The halftime show was enjoyed by the crowd.
[End of Section]
The End
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