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Passive Voice

Used carelessly, however, passive voice can produce a ponderous, inexact writing style. Want to improve your English in five minutes a day?

What's the difference between active and passive voice?

Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily! We use the passive voice when we want to emphasize the recipient of the action. We also use it when we cannot figure out the actor, though this is very rare. But this is part of the fun with editing! I am doing a monografy about phrase verbs that cannot be used in passive voice, so I would like you could send a list of them. Stop making those embarrassing mistakes!

English Grammar 101: Verbs Voice

Subscribe to Daily Writing Tips today! You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed! In the interests of "plain English" that the average person can understand, many governments now encourage civil servants to write in the active voice. Except on occasions when the passive voice is actually useful, the active voice is the voice of choice.


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Although the passive voice is less common than the active voice, there are several good reasons to sometimes use the passive. On this page we look at how to construct the passive voice and when and why to use it.

Passive and Active Voices

The auxiliary be is conjugated in all tenses. The main verb is always the past participle.


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The agent is the original "doer" of the action. The subject of an active sentence "does" the action. In a passive sentence, we express the doer or agent through a by phrase the long passive or, very often, we remove it completely the short passive.


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In the following example, the agent is "the Allies":. The short passive is also known as the "agentless passive". Soon you will see how useful it can be.

The Passive Voice with 'Get'

The table below shows examples of the passive with negative sentences, question sentences and negative-question sentences:. There are several times when the passive voice is useful, and usually the decision has to do with the "doer" agent or the "receiver" of the action. For example, we use the passive when:. So if France beat England at football, we could turn this to passive and say "England were beaten by France" be- passive or "England got beaten by France" get- passive.

Active and Passive Voice: Using PASSIVE VOICE with Different TENSES in English

How can I teach people how to tell the difference between passive and active voice and to stay away from passive voice? What Is Active Voice? I'll start with active voice because it's simpler.

What Is Voice in Grammar?

In an active sentence, the subject is doing the action. A straightforward example is the sentence "Steve loves Amy. What Is Passive Voice? In passive voice, the target of the action gets promoted to the subject position. Rather, she is just the recipient of Steve's love.