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The Easy Techniques of Writing in Active Voice

It’s the goal of every writer to make their writing more interesting and engaging. And that’s when writing in an active voice plays an important part. Writing experts recommend using active voice to make the content clear and direct. Today, we are here to give you an insight into how to write in active voice and how impactful it is.

Who Typically Uses Writing In Active Voice?

Whether you are an emerging writer, a student, a research writer, a practitioner, or a creative story writer, understanding active voice writing can uplift the quality and accuracy of your writing.

Why Writing In Active Voice Is Important?

Well writing in active voice is crucial:

  • To bring clarity to the writing.
  • To ensure conciseness.
  • To highlight the subject or doer of the action.
  • To make the writing clear, engaging, and attention-grabbing.
  • To increase Readability.
  • To avoid irrelevant and unnecessary words.
  • To build strong connections with readers.

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Where to Use Writing in Active Voice?

Active voice is mainly used in major sections of every article and research paper where the authors want to be to the point and be specific. Active and passive voice goes side by side to make the content comprehensive in almost all types of essays and papers.

A study was conducted by Research Gate to determine the use of active voice in different sections of research articles. It found the following results:

Active VoicePassive Voice
Abstract11.76%7.59%
Introduction29.41%10.12%
Method11.76%50.63%
Result17.64%20.25%
Discussion29.41%11.39%

The results have shown that the parts of the research appear to need generalization to opt for passive voice, whereas in the parts where the author needs to be specific, the active voice was used.

What Is Writing In Active Voice? Definition And Meaning

The active voice is one of the writing styles that clarifies what actions the subject is performing directly. It follows the “subject-verb-object” structure, where the subject is the doer of any action.

Writing in active voice style brings directness, clarity, and engagement to your writing. Because, here, the subject of the sentence takes center stage and drives actions, leading to more straightforwardness and efficient communication.

Moreover, this strategy makes your writing more dynamic, compelling, and easier to understand for every reader.

Let’s look at some examples to make it easier to understand.

Passive Voice

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Here, the passive voice seems clunky and ambiguous. The subject is the car, and the actions are not clear. There are a lot of words, and it seems very hard for the reader to understand the subject’s actions.

Active Voice

voice-2

Here the active voice is used. You can see how it takes fewer words to make the context clear. The subject is Ashley, and the actions are clear and expressed in a direct tone. It makes it easy for the reader to understand.

What Impact Does Active And Passive Voice Make?

Let’s understand the difference in the impact of both writing styles through this simple example.

Passive voice: ‘’You are loved by me.’’

Active voice: “I love you.”

Can you spot the difference and the degree of impact that is left on the listener? There is a reason we hear characters in books and movies saying ‘I love you’ rather than ‘You are loved by me.’ I love you is a stronger, more direct, and more emotional form of endearing and admiring someone.

Saying ‘you are loved by me’ doesn’t make it sound unique; it sounds like a formal order or indirectly tells the listener to be grateful that they are loved. That’s how these little differences in active and passive voice have different impacts.

3-Step Formula Of Writing In Active Voice

  • Identify the subject in your sentence.
  • Always put the subject (performer or doer) at the beginning and before the verb.
  • Put an object (receiver of the action) at the end of the sentence if there is any.

Example: “Sarah ate mangoes after a football match.”

  • Subject: Sarah
  • Verb: ate
  • Object: Mangoes

5 Pro Tips For How To Write In Active Voice

Many students struggle to understand the proper use of the active voice. Below are some key points on how to write in active voice. Let’s crack them out.

 Detecting Subject and Verb

This is the first step in writing in an active voice. Identify the subject (doer of the action) and verb (the action itself that is being performed) in your sentence.

Example:

Passive Voice: The book was written by John.

Active Voice: John wrote the book.

Carefully Rearrange the Sentence

Secondly, rearrange your sentence structure by introducing the subject before the verb. In active voice writing, the subject always comes at the start of the sentences, followed by the verb and object.

Example:

Passive Voice: World War I was started after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.

Active Voice: Franz Ferdinand’s assassination started World War I.

Use Strong and Clear Verbs

While writing in active voice, choose the verbs that bring energy and vividness to the sentence. Your verbs should be solid and clear.

Example: 

Passive Voice: Cricket Was Played by the United States National Cricket Team.

Active Voice: The United States National Cricket Team Played Cricket.

Modify the Verb Sentence

Change the “to be” sentence to the verb tense that the subject would act in.

Example: Passive Voice: The article has to be published by Noah.

Active Voice: Noah published the article.

Emphasize on Subject

To make an impact while writing in active voice, highlight the doer of the action or subject in your sentence by putting it at the beginning before the verb.

Example: Passive Voice: The glass was broken by her.

Active Voice: She broke the glass.

Writing in Active Voice VS Passive Voice: Comparison Table

Active VoicePassive Voice
Subject+Verb+ObjectObject+Verb+Subject
It puts focus on the doer (subject) of the action.It puts focus on the receiver (object) of the action.
It is more concise and clear and uses fewer words.It is wordier and uses irrelevant and unnecessary words.
The subject comes before the verb and at the beginning of the sentence.The subject comes after the verb and object, typically at the end of the sentence.
It is appropriate to use when the doer of the action is known.It is appropriate to use when the doer of the action is unknown.
Example: The supervisor awards the team with an allowance.Example: The team was awarded an allowance by the supervisor.

5 Common Challenges Of Writing In Active Voice

  • Failing to identify the subject and verb in the sentence.
  • Struggling with rearrangement of the sentence to put the subject before the verb and at the beginning of the sentence.
  • Difficulty in placing the object in the right position.
  • Hard to keep the clarity and consistency intact.
  • Keeping up with proofreading is one of the tough stages of writing process in active voice.

Best Active Voice Examples

 Use of Active Voice In Nelson Mandela Autobiography

voice-3

Nelson Mandela tells the story of his life in an active voice to make his writing more impactful and to express his feelings with ease. This is considered one of the most influential books and active voice examples.

A snippet from the Book Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson

voice-4

Walter Isaacson describes Steve Jobs as one of the greatest businessmen. As you can see from this example, the writer uses ‘He’ at the start of sentences to highlight the doer. The perfect use of the active voice emphasizes the subject’s achievements, and the content is clear and easy to understand.

Barack Obama Tweet

voice-5

The former president of the United States highlighted the impact of marches by students and young people’s freedom to express themselves.

You can see how he started with a passive voice where the subjects were the young people, the verb ‘inspired’, and the objects were ‘Michelle and I’.

But you can see how beautifully he transitioned to active voice in the next sentence, making the entire statement look clean and impactful. This is a strong feature of writing mechanics for everyone.

This is excellent writing in active voice examples that mingle with passive voice as well.

An Example From Pride and Prejudice

voice-6

Jane Auston had a great way with words and how she expressed the feelings of the characters. Active voice is significant in fictional writing as well.

As you can see in this example, Elizabeth Bennet emphasizes the subject ‘I’ and details the actions of Mr Darcy that impacted her decisions.

This is direct communication in an active voice that strengthens the opinion of readers and clarifies the context.

Active Voice Example From ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

voice-7

You can see how Harper Lee writes in the active voice and first-person pronouns. You can see how the subject is placed at the start of a sentence, the verb is at the second, and the object is at the end.

This makes the writing more easy to understand and to be precise. This is one the best writing in active voice examples.

3 Simple Steps To Turn Passive Voice Into Active Voice

  • Identify the Subject and Verb in Your Sentence.
  • Move the Subject at the Beginning and before the Verb.
  • Rearrange and Adjust the Sentence Structure.

Example:

Passive Voice: The article was written by John.

Active Voice: John wrote the article.

Resources That Can Help In Learning Writing in Active Voice

If you want to improve your writing in active voice, you can read the following pieces of literature that use active voice to tell a story.

  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  • “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “1984” by George Orwell
  • “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
  • “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Avoid These 7 Mistakes While Writing In Active Voice

  1. Unclear And Ambiguous Pronouns that create confusion about the doer of the action.
  2. Weak verbs that don’t represent specificity and impact.
  3. Wordiness which adds unnecessary and redundant words.
  4. Lack of variety in sentences which causes the content to be boring.
  5. Awkward sentence structure to forcefully use the active voice. It may result in clunky phrases and can disturb the smoothness.
  6. Excessive use of strong verbs can make your writing monotonous.
  7. Failing to highlight the doer can lead to a loss of impact in your writing.

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Want Help In Using Active Voice?

Writing in Active voice can get challenging and you can be subject to the mistakes mentioned in the above section. That’s why it’s good to seek help in learning.

If you are confused in your homework, get professional assistance from assignment homework help providers. It will help you get your work done and serve as an example to learn active voice usage.

Practice Your Active Voice With This Exercise

Test your knowledge by answering these easy questions.

  1. Identify the voice of this sentence, “The cake was eaten by James.”
  2. Identify the subject and the verb in this sentence.“Salaries were delayed by HR”.
  3. Transform this sentence to active voice: “The proposal was rejected by the board”.
  4. Which Voice is this: “Roads were blocked by protestors.” And change it.

Final Thoughts On Writing In Active Voice

Active voice is a writing style in English that focuses on or emphasizes the subject of the sentence. Writing in active voice recommends highlighting the doer of the action to bring clarity, conciseness, transparency, and accountability. It follows the “Subject+Verb+Object” structure.

As a student, you may face various challenges while converting a passive voice into an active one. However, you can quickly master this active voice writing style within a few minutes if you follow our guidelines.

Answers To Active Voice Exercise!!!

  1. Passive Voice
  2. HR is the subject, and ‘delayed’ is the verb.
  3. “The board rejected the proposal.”
  4. “Protestors blocked the roads.”

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