Active vs passive voice

There is an old English rule that states active voice is better than passive voice. Well, that rule is wrong – and this is an article of why following rules are not always a good idea.

Simply rephrase.

“Teacher Amy says that active voice is always better than passive voice. Well, she is wrong – and this is the article why listening to rules are not always a good idea.”

Written in an active voice, we bring up an unnecessary character, teacher Amy who – might have good intentions – but forgets to explain why we should follow such a rule.

Active voice
Mary will eat the pizza, beware.
I shall always remember my first visit to Boston.
The reason he left college was that his health became impaired.
It was not long before she was sorry that she had said what she had.

Passive voice
The pizza will be eaten by Mary, beware.
My first visit to Boston will always be remembered.
Failing health urged him to leave college.
She soon felt sorry for her words.

An active voice is when the actor (subject) is in front of the action (verb) and the thing/person (object) that’s receiving the action. And that is how our brain understands cause and effect, not effect and cause. Hence, making it easier for you, the reader to understand.

An active voice also makes the sentence shorter and it usually becomes stronger. Brevity becomes a by-product of strength, making the sentence direct, bold and concise.

But at times, telling the truth is dangerous. So, we might want to hide the subject. Instead of telling your boss “you did not send me the cheque”, we might want to say “my cheque did not arrive”.

Active voice is powerful. Use it cautiously and with awareness. Lesson over.

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