This blog was featured on 10/23/2019
Refresher on the Passive Voice
Contributor
Written by
Maria Murnane
28 days ago
Contributor
Written by
Maria Murnane
28 days ago

The passive voice is disliked by me.

I dislike the passive voice.

If you’re not sure what the passive voice is, those two sentences should give you an idea. They should also show you why the passive voice is disliked by me, and why I dislike the passive voice.

The passive voice is the opposite of the active voice. In the active voice, someone or something is doing something to someone or something.

  • I read the book.
  • She murdered her husband.
  • He wrote the poem.

In the passive voice, something is being done to someone or something.

  • The book was read by Gloria.
  • The can was opened by the chef.
  • The poem was written by David.

I dislike the passive voice because I think it comes across as clunky, bland and weak. And without attribution (i.e.including the BY part of the sentence) the passive voice can also leave the reader asking the maddening question of WHO DID IT?

For example:

  • The woman was pushed down the stairs.  
  • The man was murdered.
  • The woman was spotted sneaking out of the building.

Who pushed the woman down the stairs? Who murdered the man? Who spotted the woman? I want to know the answers to these questions! Don’t you? Not answering them can lead to unsatisfied readers, and having unsatisfied readers is something that is not wanted by me.

See what I did there? Sounds weird, right? It’s much better to say I do not want to have unsatisfied readers.

There are times when the passive voice is necessary, for example when you don’t know who pushed someone down the stairs, etc. Otherwise, I recommend that the passive voice is avoided by you. I also recommend that you avoid the passive voice. 

-Maria

Maria Murnane writes bestselling novels about life, love and friendship. Have questions? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

 

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