An author can write a sentence with either voice–active or passive. In a sentence written in the active voice, the subject is receiving the action. The subject is always a noun or a pronoun, and the voice is used to convey the message in a stronger, direct, more readable, way than a passive-voice sentence.
While every passive voice sentence states the same action, active voice states an action in a more direct manner, placing the verb-doer before it. In a sentence, active voice is used when the subject, or the person, of this particular sentence is the one performing the action represented by the verb. To switch the voice of the sentence from the passive voice to the active voice, identify the person or thing performing an action, and use this person or thing as the subject of the sentence. In active sentences, the person or thing who is responsible for the actions in the sentence comes first.
Active sentences put emphasis on the topic of the sentence, placing it in front before the verb. These verbs are unnecessary in the active phrase structure, and this is one major reason many say that active sentences are stronger and shorter. Using active verbs makes your writing lively, in addition to being shorter and more legible. On the other hand, active verbs direct the focus on actors, which brings clarity and power to your prose.
Using an active voice puts emphasis on the topic of a sentence, making a statement clearer and concise. When writers use the active voice, their words are straightforward; they use concrete verbs and state the actions that are being performed by the subject in a clear way. In contrast, passive voice is indirect; writers can use weaker -words for verbs that are beings (are, ares, ares, ares, ares) or progressives that are beings (e.g., are working, are laughing), and the actors in a sentence are either missing or masked. Whereas, the sentence structure in passive voices is longer by a few words, and is used when a subject or a person is the receiver of action.
Passive voice puts the subject at the end of the sentence, which tends to obfuscate who is performing an action in your sentence. The third problem with passive voice is that it breaks up the usual order of subjects and verbs of the sentence, so readers have more trouble following it. While the passive voice has its place–for instance, in the methods section–in many cases, it makes the manuscript seem uninspiring, failing to establish authorship in research… Use sentences with a direct, active voice. If you are not sure, try to rephrase a phrase with an active voice, and ask whether this changes the meaning of the phrase, or just makes the writing more lucid or succinct.
If you decided your sentence would be clearer in the active voice, then reword the phrase so the subject and the actor are the same. To turn a passive sentence into the active voice, rearrange the verb taking place (the writers drafting) with the subject (the novel), thereby structuring the sentence as the writer is drafting a novel. Categorize each verb in the following sentences as either active or passive.
In a passive sentence, the subject position at the front of the sentence will have the subject. For instance, where an act follows another act in accordance with a rule, and the second act has no actors other than the rule itself, the passive phrase might be a better way to express it. For instance, if the actors in a sentence are unknown or unimportant, one can choose to be passive, such as in the phrase, The amendments shall be approved following discussion.
Passive sentences typically have more words than active ones, and that is part of why it is more difficult for a reader to grasp their meaning. Many sentences have several verbs, some active, and some passive.
According to The Chicago Manual of Style, the voice indicates whether the subject of a [sentence] acts…or is acted upon…–that is, whether the subject is performing the verbs action or receiving it.1 Thus, a sentence where the subject is performing the verbs action is active-voiced, while one where the subject receives the verbs power or action is passive-voiced. Specifically, the APA explains that voice shows relationships between a verb and a subject and/or object (see Section 4.13, Section 7) of the sentence. Voice describes a relation between the verb and its associated subjects and objects. Passive voice is mostly used when writing assignments, which directs the readers attention to a particular activity occurring, instead of to a subject.
For instance, The American Medical Associations AMA Stylebook suggests In general, authors should use active voice, except for instances where the author is unfamiliar, or where interest is focused on the thing being acted on. Although some journals require authors to restrict their first-person pronouns or restrict them to specific sections, others do not just encourage authors to write in an active voice, they also choose them to use the first-person pronouns rather than a passive voice.
The active voice is sometimes the much better choice, and it is possible to use both in a single paper depending on the context and content of the sentences, as well as which sections of the article you are writing. If your writing is meant to attract a target audience, like a novel, then writing your sentences with a passive voice will not only flatten your content and make your writing awkward to read, but your paper would also carry over all of the extra words that will make your write-up unclear and overly long-winded.
An active voice can help provide clarity, making it clear to your readers who is taking the actions within a sentence. Active voice emphasizes the logical flow of your sentences and makes your writing seem lively and relevant — crucial for using on formal academic writing assignments in order to achieve high-scoring grades.