Why am I writing this post?
Ordinarily, I have avoided these type of posts. First I felt like nobody would be interested. Secondly, there are so many posts out there for people to get help from.
The other day, I began researching the passive voice. It is something that I felt was in all of my writing’s. I began taking notes from the sites I was looking at.
I thought to myself, where am I going to put these notes? If I put them in my notebook, they become like all the other writing tips, where I can’t even remember if I have them. If I leave them on the scraps of paper I wrote them on, I’m going to lose them.
The solution: write a blog post.
This blog post is primarily for me. If others find help from it, that is an added bonus. If others find the need to point out something I got wrong, that is excellent because I want to learn.
The passive voice
The people (those people who decide everything even though you can never pinpoint who exactly made the decision) have said that using passive voice is lazy writing. It is one of the rules. Active is engaging and active.
I hear you cry, “break the rules!”
In my opinion, I can only break the rules when they become second nature to me in the first place. At that point, I am breaking the rule as a stylistic choice instead of being a blundering idiot.
How to spot the passive voice?
Number one, it will more than likely (but not always) have “was” followed by a word ending in “–ed.” Basically, it boils down to a form of the verb “to be” and a past participle*.
Number two, if you read over a sentence two or three times and you are still unclear about who was doing the action, chances are it is using a passive voice.
Number three, if the subject appears, it will be at the end of the sentence often in a phrase that starts with “by.” If there is no subject, you can add “by zombies” after the verb and if it makes sense, it is using a passive voice.
*It’s important to remember that not every sentence that contains a form of “have” or “be” is passive.
Questions to ask yourself when you are eyeballing a possible passive sentence
Is there an action going on in the sentence?
If so, what is at the front of the sentence?
Is it a person or thing that does the action?
Is it the person or thing that has the action done to it?
Example: the bone was caught by the dog.
> was and past participle
> if you needed to read that a few times to understand it, you either have a very short attention span, or your eyesight’s going.
> We have the “by…” in there.
> The action: the bone is being caught.
> The object (the bone) is at the front.
> It is a thing (the dog) that does the action.
Conclusion: this sentence is passive.
The bone was caught by the dog.
Becomes: the dog caught the bone.
Why am I writing this post?