The Passive Voice

The passive voice is a to a sentence what kryptonite is to Superman.  It leads to weak, very weak, sentences.

The Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks. (Active Voice)

The Milwaukee Bucks were beat by the Boston Celtics. (Passive Voice)

The sentences say the same thing. The Bucks lost. The first sentence is clear and concise. The second sentence might fit the mood of Bucks’ fans and it doesn’t have the punch of the first sentence.

But, both sentences are easy to read. Why worry about active and passive voice? Just the thought of active and passive voice might make you cringe. Maybe an image of an old English teacher standing over you is something you can’t shake. His or her coffee breath fills your memory. You cringe. Why me?  Can I use passive voice? Yes.

You can use passive voice when you don’t know the answer to a question.

My candy bar was taken by someone in the house.

We don’t know who took the candy bar. In this instance, passive voice works well for the sentence. The passive voice gets a bad wrap, but don’t fear it.

Active voice is the number one choice,  but don’t be afraid to use passive voice when you want to make a point.

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