Summary

Reasons to avoid passive voice:

  • It is rarely concise.
  • It often leaves out the actual performer of an action and is thus vague.
  • Professors dislike it, often for those reasons.

Reasons to use passive voice:

  • Occasionally, it helps you avoid an awkward sentence construction.
  • It emphasizes the recipient of an action, an emphasis which is sometimes appropriate.

Try One on Your Own!

How might you rewrite the sentence "I've been given some great gifts in my life" to use active voice? Try to rewrite it both of these ways:

  1. Shift the focus to the givers (see the Napoleon example).
  2. Keep the focus on the recipient, but change the verb (as in the FBI example).

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Passive Voice

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