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What Are Active Voice and Passive Voice?

There are two grammatical voices when writing in English: the active voice and the passive voice. Sentences written in active voice have a subject that acts upon its verb, meaning that the subject of the sentence performs the verb’s action. A sentence where the subject is the recipient of the verb’s action is written in passive voice. Although it isn’t technically a grammatical error to write in passive voice it is generally preferably to use active voice. It is more concise, easier to understand and engages the reader more. Many students and writers have difficulty identifying active and passive voices as well as converting from one to the other. An online passive to active voice converter makes detecting active and passive voice easier and simplifies switching from one voice to the other.

How to Change Passive Voice to Active Voice

How to go from passive to active voice is something that causes difficulties for many students. The way how to make a passive sentence active will depend on how the sentence is written and what it is that causes it to be in passive voice. The following are some examples of how to turn passive voice into active voice in a sentence. If you are unsure how to get rid of passive voice our passive to active sentence converter software can help.

Change the sentence structure from object/verb/ subject to subject/verb/object:

  • Passive voice: “The window [object] was broken [verb] by Ernest [subject].
  • Active voice: “Ernest [subject] broke [verb] the window [object].”

Add a subject to the sentence:

  • Passive voice: “The potholes on Main Street were finally repaired.” The sentence is in passive voice because the subject is unknown.
  • Active voice: “City maintenance finally repaired the potholes on Main Street.” A subject, “city maintenance”, was added to the sentence changing it from passive to active voice.

Remove the “by the” phrase and restructure the sentence so that the subject performs the action:

  • Passive voice: “The car was repaired by the mechanic.” The sentence is in passive voice because the subject is receiving the action.
  • Active voice: “The mechanic repaired the car.” The “by the” phrase was removed and the performer of the action is now the subject.

How to Change Active Voice to Passive Voice

Although it occurs less often there will be times when you want to translate sentences to passive voice from active voice. Here are the basic steps to convert active voice to passive voice:

  • Place the object (the recipient of the action) at the beginning of the sentence.
  • Add a form of the verb “to be” before the main verb in the sentence. Use the same tense for the “to be” verb as the main verb tense of the active voice sentence.
  • Use the past participle of the main verb in the active voice sentence as the verb in the passive voice sentence.
  • Add the preposition “by” before the subject (person or thing performing the action).

Active voice: “Security guards patrol the warehouse every night.”

Passive voice: “The warehouse is patrolled every night by security guards.”

  • Another way to change a sentence written in active voice to passive voice is simply to remove the subject of the sentence.

Active voice: “John threw the rock through the window.”

Passive voice: “The rock was thrown through the window.”

If you are experiencing difficulty changing from active voice to passive voice consider giving our active voice changer a try.

About Our Passive Voice Checker

Although active voice is usually preferred there are times when using the passive voice is appropriate. Some of the reasons you may choose to use passive voice in your writing include:

To show objectivity

It is fairly common in academic papers that the writer must demonstrate their objectivity on a topic. Writing in the passive voice gives the appearance of being more objective when you just want to present facts without an opinion.

To remain anonymous

When you want the subject to remain anonymous it is appropriate to use passive voice. This is often done to avoid assigning blame. For example the passive sentence “The car headlight was broken” may be preferable to the active voice, “I broke the car headlight.”

When the subject is unknown

It is acceptable to use the passive voice when it isn’t known who performed the action. “My computer was hacked last night” is a passive sentence because it isn’t known who hacked my computer.

When the action or object is more important

“The Pyramids of Giza were built over 4000 years ago” is a passive sentence. The reader doesn’t need to know who built them.

When it is obvious who performed the action

In the passive sentence “The mugger was arrested” it is clear to the reader that it is the police who made the arrest so the sentence doesn’t need to be made active.

To vary sentence structure

It is okay to mix a passive sentence into your writing for variety as long as it doesn’t interrupt the flow of your text. Writing every sentence in the same way may cause the reader to become bored and lose interest.

So how can you identify passive voice in your writing? Here are some of the ways to recognize passive voice:

  • Look for forms of “to be” followed by a past participle
  • When the subject (person/thing performing the action) isn’t included in the sentence
  • Check for when the main action word is followed by the word “by”
  • When you observe the sentence structure is object/verb/subject

It isn’t unusual for students and writers to have problems identifying and correcting passive voice issues. For anybody unsure how to correct passive voice misuse we have the solution to your problem. Our passive voice misuse fixer can detect passive voice for you. Once the passive voice finder has identified passive voice use it will provide suggestions on how to convert to active voice ensuring you have a well polished paper that is concise and easy to understand.

Active Voice Checker for the Revision Process

In most instances writing in active voice is considered better than passive voice. There are several reasons why active voice is preferred in different types of papers:

  • Concise: writing in active voice is more concise than passive voice and it provides the information you want to deliver faster.
  • Easier to understand: active voice is easier to understand. With passive voice more words are usually used and it isn’t always immediately clear who is doing what.
  • More engaging: active voice is stronger and more direct so it is more likely to hold the reader’s attention.

To identify active voice in a sentence you must determine if the subject is performing the action. If the subject of the sentence performs the verbs action it is active voice. When the subject of the sentence is the recipient of the action it is passive voice. The basic structure of a sentence written in active voice is subject/verb/object as in the following simple example:

Mark [subject] threw [verb] the ball [object]

When revising and editing papers it can be difficult and time consuming to examine each sentence to determine whether it is written in active or passive voice. Using our active voice finder to identify the voice being used will simplify the process. The passive voice to active voice converter tool can detect whether active or passive voice is being used in each sentence of your paper. It also recommends adjustments you can make to your text to convert to the appropriate voice. The active voice generator can eliminate any voice issues in your paper in a fraction of the time it would take you to proofread and edit manually.

Additional Features of the Passive Voice Editor

Our free grammar checker for passive voice and active voice does a lot more than identify and fix voice issues in papers. The passive to active voice changer is a multi-purpose tool for proofreading and editing and performs all these functions simultaneously, greatly reducing the time required for the revision process. Some of the other functions the passive to active voice translator performs include:

Spelling checker

It detects and corrects spelling mistakes.

Punctuation checker

It identifies and corrects mistakes in punctuation.

Tone checker

It identifies tone being used and recommends adjustments to set the appropriate tone.

Text similarity checker

It detects plagiarism and instances of duplicate text.

Grammar checker

It identifies and corrects multiple grammatical errors including comma splices, fused sentences, sentence fragments, verb tense problems, noun/pronoun agreement, subject/verb agreement, misplaced modifiers and more.

How to Use the Passive Voice Identifier

One of the best features of our passive voice changer is how remarkably easy it is to use. To check your paper for passive voice misuse and other problems follows these simple steps: 

  • Enter your text: copy and paste your text into the provided field. You may also type directly into the field.
  • Start the analysis process: click the button to begin the analyzing process. The tool will check your writing, depending on the length of your text it will generally take one minute or less to complete the analysis.
  • Receive your report: you will receive a report identifying passive voice use and any errors in your text. The report will include recommended corrections and adjustments for you to make. 
  • Make the suggested corrections and adjustments

It is recommended after making all corrections and adjustments that you perform a second analysis. Our passive voice fixer is free to use so you can check your paper as many times as you like.

Our sentence corrector is very accurate and provides dependable results. It also works on any type of paper including essays, book reports, dissertations and other academic writing, articles, memos, blog posts, letters or any other type of text you want to proofread and revise. This makes it an ideal revision tool for students, writers and anybody else who writes.

Start using our passive to active voice converter today and submit a perfect paper on your next writing assignment!