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					Active and Passive Voice


       UWF Writing Lab
  Grammar Mini-Lesson’s Series #2
Defining “Voice”
        • “Voice” is a
          characteristic of verbs
          which indicates the
          relation of the verb’s
          action to its subject.
        • The voice of a verb
          may be either “active”
          or “passive.”
                  Active Voice
• Active voice verbs are
  used when the subject
  is acting in a sentence.
• Example:
   – Cindy steered the boat.
• “Steered” is an active
  verb because it allows
  the subject to
  undertake an action.
Passive Voice   • “Passive voice” verbs
                  are used when the
                  subject is being acted
                  upon in a sentence.
                • Example:
                   – The mountain’s peak
                     was reached by Ed
                     Danvers.
                • “Was reached” are
                  considered passive
                  because they indicate
                  that the subject (peak)
                  is receiving an action.
                     So What?
• Although both constructions are grammatically correct, the
  active voice is usually more effective in academic and
  business writing because it is simpler and more direct. The
  passive construction is effective only when the doer of the
  action is unknown or irrelevant.
   Examples
   – The cruiseliner was hijacked.
   – The ball was hit.
   – The town was quarantined.
                        Review
• Active voice verbs: Verbs
  that indicate the sentence’s
  subject as actively acting:
   – Marvin hit the ball.


• Passive voice verbs: Verbs
  that indicated the
  sentence’s subject as being
  acted upon:
   – The ball was hit by Marvin
Any Questions???
                        Quiz
Decide which of the following sentences use the passive
voice and which sentences use the active voice. Correct
 the sentences that contain either inappropriate uses of
 passive voice or an abrupt shift from active to passive
                         voice.

      Example:
      -Before I began my research, only German
      fascism was studied by me.
                    Passive construction
      -Before I began my research, I only studied
      German fascism.
Professor Warren assigned each group a
research project; however, the documentary
sources were not located.

   Incorrect Active-Passive Shift

Professor Warren assigned each group a
research project; however, he could not
locate the documentary sources.
For the opening flag ceremony, a dance was
choreographed by Kema Jones to Bill
Withers’ song “Lean on Me.”

   Passive Construction

For the opening flag ceremony, Kema Jones
choreographed a dance to Bill Withers’
song “Lean on Me.”
When the tickets are ready, the travel agent
notifies the client. Each ticket is then listed
on a daily register form, and a copy of the
itinerary is filed.

         Incorrect Active-Passive Shift

When the tickets are ready, the travel agent
notifies the client. The agent then lists the
ticket on a daily register form and files a
copy of the itinerary.
Seismologists have examined data
concerning the recent earthquake, and
reports will be filed.

Incorrect Active-Passive Shift

Seismologists have examined data
concerning the recent earthquake, and they
will file reports.
Problems of famine, pollution, dwindling
resources, and arms control were discussed
by the senator.

        - Passive construction

The senator discussed problems of famine,
pollution, dwindling resources, and arms
control.
• Whenever an error was found by Mrs.
  Clark, the entire paper had to be rewritten
  by the student.

           Passive Construction

  Whenever an error was found by Mrs.
  Clark, the student had to rewrite the entire
  paper.

				
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