To add impact to your composition, here are some active writing tips. They will help your writing be easier to understand and flow better.
Most sentences in the English language use the active voice. In most of these sentences, it is the subject of the sentence which performs the action. The active voice is more concise and clear. Examples are “The fish swam in the ocean.” and “She is riding her bike.”
The passive voice is sometimes vague and awkward and changes the emphasis of the sentence to the person or thing receiving the action. Since there are more words involved, this can make the writing sluggish and confusing. Examples are “The cookies were made for the bake sale.” and “The road was paved by the construction crew.”
Sometimes, people will use the passive voice to cover up who performed the action or to be vague on purpose. Examples:
Mystery writers will use the passive voice to draw attention to an object rather than the criminal, like “The secret plans were stolen.” Crime reports also use the passive voice because the perpetrator has not been caught, like “The store was robbed.”
Active sentences have more substance than passive ones. Using an active voice will make sentences flow better. If your writing is too wordy or seems to be unclear, you may need to change some passive sentences to active ones. Here are two examples:
Need more explanation? Check out the YourDictionary Active vs. Passive Voice infographic for an easy-to-understand visual explanation.
Here are some active writing tips to make your work easy to understand and coherent.
Since most passive sentences use a form of the verb “to be” like am, was, were, are, etc, many people think any sentence with that verb is passive. Many are, but some are not.
Here is a little test to help you know if you understand the difference between active and passive voice. Change these sentences that have a passive voice to sentences with an active voice. One of them cannot be changed.
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