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Active and Passive Voice

by: Miranda Tyson

Active and Passive Voice ENGL 2161

Miranda Tyson

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About this Document

These notes cover when to use active and passive voice, how to use them and examples of each.
Grammar for Writing
Abby Dobbs
Class Notes
grammar, english
25 ?




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Miranda Tyson on Monday February 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 2161 at University of North Carolina - Charlotte taught by Abby Dobbs in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Grammar for Writing in Foreign Language at University of North Carolina - Charlotte.

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Date Created: 02/08/16
Active and Passive Voice Active voice: the subject names the actor performing the action described by the verb. Ex: The dog ate the sandwich Passive voice: the subject names the person or thing that receives the action of the verb. Ex: The sandwich was eaten by the dog. More examples: Active- Jackie slices the bread. Passive- The bread is sliced by Jackie. (Simple present) Active- The big bully invaded Herman’s space. Passive- Herman’s space was invaded. Active- The doctors have healed Joe’s cancer. Passive- Joe’s cancer has been healed. Active- Kate could (modal) see the smoke for miles. Passive- The smoke could (modal) be seen for miles. Active- You may eat cake now. Passive- Cake can now be eaten. In the active voice, although the subject is the sentence topic, the slot follows the verb, the direct object, is the focus of the sentence and “new” information. Ex: Students organized the fundraiser. Fundraiser receives the emphasis A passive sentence shifts the direct object from the focus position to the subject position. Ex: The fundraiser was raised by the students. Students receives the emphasis Active voice clearly states relationship between subject and action. It is more concise and more direct, so it is easier and faster for reader to process. Passive- The storm warning was issued by the National Weather Service. Action- The National Weather Service issued a storm warning. Using Passive Voice: 1. The agent is unknown, obvious or unimportant Active- Someone developed the software in 2002. Passive- The software was developed in 2002. Active- Scientist measure rain fall over a one month period. Passive- Rainfall was measured over a one month period. 2. To create a greater sense of objectivity Action- We found no significant difference between the two groups. Passive- There was no difference found between the two groups. 3. To emphasize the absence of agency and power in the person being acted upon Active- The speaker of the house gave the president an ultimatum Passive- The president was given an ultimatum. 4. To avoid mentioning the agent Active- You (professor) did not post our grades on moodle. Passive- Our grades were not posted on moodle.


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