Writing In An Active vs. Passive Voice


When writing its better to write in an active voice. Before we begin, let’s look at the difference between active and passive voice.

A sentence that is written in an active voice, is written that the subject of the sentence performs the action. In a sentence written in a passive voice, the subject receives the action.

So an example maybe

Active: The dog bit the man

Passive: The man was bitten by the dog

Why use Active instead of Passive

One good reason I read was:

Passive voice sentences often use more words, can be vague, and can lead to a tangle of prepositional phrases. – The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Which really fits in with the reason I wanted to bring this up. Writing in an active voice just makes your post more interesting to read, and easier to read also.

Your goal, as a blogger, is to get people to enjoy your content and keep coming back for more – so techniques such as these really play a big deal in readers enjoying what you are sharing.

Tips on converting your sentence to Active voice

Let’s take a look at some tips and strategies for converting sentences from the passive to the active voice.

  • Look for a “by” phrase (e.g., such as the”by the dog” in the example given above). If you do find one then sentence may be in the passive voice. So, in that case, you may want to rewrite the sentence so that the subject buried in the “by” clause is closer to the beginning of the sentence.
  • If the subject of the sentence is somewhat anonymous, see if you can use a general term, such as “researchers,” or “the study,” or “experts in this field.”

When to use passive voice

There are times when using the passive voice has good reasons. For example, here are 5 reasons where you would want to use a passive voice and not active.

  1. When you want to emphasize the action and not the actor
  2. To be tactful, by not naming the actor
  3. To create an authoritative tone
  4. To describe a condition in which the actor is unknown or unimportant
  5. To keep the subject and focus consistently throughout a passage

There may be others you will come across, but these are some great examples of when you would use a passive voice.

Practice practice practice

I hope that this little tip helps you write content that is enjoyed by your readers. It takes practice to write this way, I’m still practising this myself. The benefit you will get is well worth the effort taken.

Write in an active voice and take the action, so that your readers will enjoy.

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