What is Active Voice?
A simple way to define active voice is to say – when the subject in a sentence is doing the action.
In Active Voice the subject ‘acts’.
Let’s look at some examples:
Shirin loves Ashok. The sentence is clearly about Shirin (subject) and she is doing the action. She loves ‘Ashok’ (the object).
I heard the news today. ‘I’ is the subject – doing the action- hearing ‘the news’ (the object .
What is Passive Voice?
In the passive voice – the subject receives the action of the verb.
In Passive Voice the subject is ‘acted upon’.
So the sentence ‘Shirin loves Ashok‘ in passive voice would read: Ashok is loved by Shirin.
The sentence ‘I heard the news today’ (active voice) would read: The news was heard by me today. (passive voice).
Why use the Active Voice in writing?
Sentences in active voice make it clear who is doing what. They are shorter and show more energy.
I carried the bag. (Active) with The bag was carried by me. (Passive)
You are making too much noise. (Active) with Too much noise is being made by you. (Passive).
I called the police to report the robbery. (Active) with The police were called (by me) to report the robbery (Passive) or The robbery was reported (by me) to the police. (Passive).
In official letter writing, when you use the active voice you are being more positive. You take credit for doing something and customers will appreciate this more.
Compare : I will reverse the transaction and credit your account with Rs.1000/- (Active) with The transaction will be reversed and your account will be credited with Rs.1000/- (Passive)
You might use the passive voice in situations where you don’t want to be blamed or don’t want to blame!
Compare: I sent you the notice by mistake. (Active) with The notice was sent to you by mistake. (Passive)
Want to try some re-writes? Change these sentences to active voice:
The streets around the crime scene had been blocked off by the police.
The house was broken into by the robber while the owners were on vacation.
These books had been left on the playground by a careless student.