Some academic writers feel that the use of the passive voice (verbs which do not indicate who or what is doing the action) can lead to writing in which sources or agents are not clear. Certainly, repeated use of the passive results in texts which are 'flat' and tedious to read.
The difficulty with endless passive sentences is that the reader tends to lose sight ofany agent, and the writing becomes dominated by things and concepts instead of people. You may see passive voice dominating in published articles, but this is often for reasons of space. Do not be afraid to use active voice - especially in your Discussion section, where it is sometimes important to indicate that it is you thinking certain things and having particular opinions. In Methodssections of many theses (in Medicine, for example), it is acceptable to break the monotony of many passive voice sentences with some active voice.
Compare the two texts below and decide which you think is preferable.
Active and Passive Verbs
|Active verbs form more efficient and more powerful sentences than |[pic] |
|passive verbs. Thisdocument will teach you why and how to prefer | |
|active verbs. |Troy Sterling and the |
|The subject of an active sentence performs the action of the verb: |Active & Passive Verbs |
|"I throw the ball."| |
|The subject of a passive sentence is still the main character of the | |
|sentence, but something else performs the action: "The ball is thrown| |
|by me."| |
1. How to Recognize Active and Passive Sentences
2. Basic Examples
3. Difference between Passive Voice and Past Tense
4. Imperatives: Active Commands
5. Sloppy Passive Construction
6. Linking Verbs: Neither Active nor Passive
7.Passive Voice is not Wrong
8. Tricky Examples
9. Links to Active & Passive Verb Resources
10. Works Cited
1. How to Recognize Active and Passive Sentences ^
1. Find the subject (the main character of the sentence).
2. Find the main verb (the action that the sentence identifies).
3. Examine the relationship between the subject and main verb.
o Does thesubject perform the action of the main verb? (If so, the sentence is active.)
o Does the subject sit there while something else -- named or unnamed -- performs an action on it? (If so, the sentence is passive.)
o Can't tell? If the main verb is a linking verb ("is," "was," "are," "seems (to be)," "becomes" etc.), then the verb functions like an equals sign; there is no actioninvolved -- it merely describes a state of being.
2. Basic Examples ^
|I love you. |
|subject: "I" |
|relationship: The subject ("I") is the one performing the action ("loving"). |
|The sentence is active. |
|You are loved by me. |