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Active & Passive Voice Verbs

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Brooke Naumoff

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of Active & Passive Voice Verbs

Active & Passive Voice Verbs
8th Grade Language Arts
Mrs. Naumoff & Mrs. Petruska

What is active and passive verb voice?
“Verbs are the most important of all your tools. They push the sentence forward and give it momentum. Active verbs push hard; passive verbs tug fitfully.”
William Zinsser, On Writing Well

In ACTIVE voice, the subject is doing the action.
ACTIVE: Tanner threw the football to Jacob.

In PASSIVE voice, the subject is being acted upon.
PASSIVE: The football was thrown by Tanner.
Active and Passive Voice Verbs
In ACTIVE voice, the subject and verb relationship is straightforward: the subject is a be-er or a do-er and the verb moves the sentence along.

Mrs. Hamsher approved the new policy.

In the PASSIVE voice, the subject of the sentence is neither a do-er or a be-er, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed.

The new policy was approved by Mrs. Hamsher.
"By Zombies" Rule
If you can insert "by zombies" after the verb, you have passive voice.

“She was killed [by zombies.]” (Passive voice.)

“Zombies killed [by zombies] her.” (Active voice.)

“It was determined [by zombies] that the report was inconclusive.” (Passive voice.)

“We were invited [by zombies] to attend their party.” (Passive voice.)
How to
How to Identify Passive & Active Verb Voice

1. Circle the VERB
2. Insert "by zombies" after the verb
3. Does it make sense?
4. If YES then it is PASSIVE voice. If NO then it is ACTIVE voice.

How to Write in Active & Passive Verb Voice

How to make a passive sentence an ACTIVE sentence
1. Circle the VERB
2. Underline the subject-WHO is doing the action?
3. If the subject is unnamed, make someone up or use "Zombies."
4. Re-write the sentence so the subject is a do-er or a be-er.

How to make a active sentence a PASSIVE sentence
1. Circle the VERB
2. Underline the subject-WHO is receiving the action?
3. Re-write the sentence so that the receiver (object) becomes the subject (do-er or be-er)


Is using passive voice incorrect?
Passive sentences aren't incorrect; it’s just that they often aren't the best way to phrase your thoughts. Sometimes passive voice is awkward and other times it’s vague.

When you put sentences in passive voice, it's easy to leave out the person or thing doing the action. For example, "Amy is loved," is passive. The problem with that sentence is that you don't know who loves Amy.

Politicians often use passive voice to intentionally obscure the idea of who is taking the action. Ronald Reagan famously said, “Mistakes were made,” when referring to the Iran-Contra scandal. Other examples of passive voice for political reasons could include “Bombs were dropped,” and “Shots were fired.” Pay attention to the news and listen for examples of passive voice.

When is PASSIVE voice used?
-Crime Reports
-Fiction Writing (mystery novels
-Scientific Writing

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