Updated: May 24
Verbs have five qualities in English grammar: voice, mood, tense, person, and number; we are only interested in voice in this article. Active and passive are the two grammatical voices. The link between the action (or condition) that the verb represents and the individuals specified by its arguments is described by the voice of a verb (subject, object, etc.)1. The verb is in the active voice when the subject is the action's actor or doer. The verb is considered to be in the passive voice when the subject is the action's recipient, target, or undergoer. The verb is in the middle voice when the subject performs and receives the action described by the verb2. Diathesis is another term for voice. When a sentence is written in active voice, it has a subject who interacts with the verb. The passive voice indicates that a subject is the object of a verb's action. Even if you've been taught that using the passive voice is ineffective and inappropriate, the problem doesn't end there. The passive voice can be acceptable when used properly and in moderation.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE?
The sentence is said to be in the active voice whenever the subject of the sentence executes the verb's action. Using the active voice gives your sentences a powerful, direct, and clear sound to them. Listed below are a few brief and basic examples of the active voice.
Examples of active voice
· John baked a cake.
· Julie likes pizza.
· Dogs chase cats.
The subject, verb, and object are all in the active voice in all three sentences. The subject John performs the action described by Baked. The subject Julie performs the action described by likes. The subject dogs performs the action described by chase. The subjects are always doing something—they're always putting something into action in the course of their sentences.
When the verb acts on the subject, the sentence is said to be in the passive voice. The passive voice is usually formed by combining a conjugated form of to be with the past participle of the verb. This frequently results in the formation of a preposition. That sounds remarkably more hard than it is—passive voice is really easy to spot. To demonstrate the distinction between active and passive voice, we will change the three active sentences above.
Examples of passive voice
· The cake is baked by John.
· Pizza is liked by Julie.
· Cats are chased by dogs.
Take a deeper look at the first two sentences: "John bakes the cake" and "Julie likes pizza." The active sentence is composed of the following components: John (subject) + baked (verb) + the cake (object). The passive sentence is made up of the following elements: the cake (object) + are baked (a form of to be plus the past participle bake) + by (preposition) + the cake (subject). The structure of the sentence was reversed when it was made passive, necessitating the use of the preposition by. All three of the altered sentences above required the inclusion of by.
WHEN SHOULD ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE BE USED?
Using the active voice whenever possible is a common assumption among writers. This could be due to the fact that it makes your writing more concise. The passive voice, as shown in the example above, frequently necessitates more words. It can also sound awkward and ambiguous when written incorrectly, especially when the subject of the sentence is merely indicated rather than explicitly stated.
This does not, however, imply that you should avoid utilizing the passive voice at all times. It has its own applications. Many authors, for example, use it as a technique in their fiction writing. The passive voice is very popular among mystery writers because it allows them to hide mysteries within their narrative.
Because of the absence of emphasis on the actor, the passive voice has become the preferred mode of expression in scientific and academic writing. While there has been a trend in enabling scientists to mention the activities they took in the tests they did, the science field still favors the passive voice in order to preserve an objective tone. This is due to the fact that it focuses less on individual perspectives and more on the actions made as well as the outcomes.
Always think about whether you should utilize the passive or active voice while you're composing a piece of writing. It depends on what you want to convey as the writer: if you want to attract attention to the doer, use the passive voice; if you want to draw attention to the action, use the active voice.
Which voice you use is entirely up to you, the writer. The key point to remember is to write coherently and with proper grammar structures. Additionally, to explain science to others, we must write from an object perspective in science writing. The passive voice is useful for creating an objective tone in articles. As a result, in some instances of scientific writing, passive voice is clearly preferable to active voice.