Passive to Active
Convert these passive voice sentences into the active voice:
- Alana’s toes were crushed by the garage door.
- The passive voice has likely been heard of by you.
- Rebeca’s favorite spot in the lecture hall had been taken by the time she got to class.
- When the passive voice is overused, you often end up with flat writing.
- The garage door crushed Alana’s toes.
- You’ve likely heard of the passive voice.
- Because there’s a descriptive phrase, there are a few options when revising this sentence:
- Someone had taken Rebeca’s favorite spot in the lecture hall by the time she got to class.
- By the time Rebeca got to class, someone had taken her favorite spot in the lecture hall.
- When you overuse the passive voice, you often end up with flat writing.
Active or Passive
Read the following sentences. Are they using the passive effectively? Or should they be rewritten as active sentences?
- Maren was hit by several branches as she slid down the hill.
- A lot of discussion about whether technology is hurting or helping our ability to communicate has been inspired by this increase in technology.
- Listeners are encouraged by the lyrics to cast aside their fear and be themselves.
- Yes, this sentence uses the passive effectively. Since the subject of this sentence—several branches—can’t actually do anything, it’s best to put the emphasis on Maren, the person the actions were done to.
- This sentence does not use the passive well. The passive voice has made the sentence a lot more complicated then it needs to be. The active would read something like this:
- This increase of technology has inspired a lot of discussion about whether technology is hurting or helping our ability to communicate.
- Either voice could be appropriate here. If you want to focus on the listeners, the passive voice is correct. If you want to focus on the lyrics, the sentence should be changed to the active voice.
- Passive: Listeners are encouraged by the lyrics to cast aside their fear and be themselves.
- Active: The lyrics encourage listeners to cast aside their fear and be themselves.