Passive Voice: Myths and Facts


  • How Is Passive Construction Identified?
  • Look for parts of the verb "to be" used with another verb; however, keep in mind that the use of "to be" verbs doesn’t always mean passive voice.
  • Look for the word by, which is often an indicator of passive voice.
    Example: The action was performed by the children.
  • Find the verb and ask, "Who or what performed the action?" If the person or thing performing the action is the subject, the sentence is active.
  • Evaluate If Passive Voice Should Be Used
  • Does it matter who is responsible for the action?
  • Is the subject/actor indicated? Should the subject/actor be indicated?
  • Do you want to emphasize the object or de-emphasize the subject?
  • Would your reader ask for clarification because of an issue related to the use of passive voice?
  • When Passive Voice Should Be Avoided
  • Active verbs create a sense of action and purpose. Active voice is more lively and dynamic and does a better job of moving your story along. Unless a situation clearly calls for a passive verb, it is suggested that you use active verbs.

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Good read and reminder!! I use passive voice sometimes!!