Passive voice to active voice

passive voice to active voice

Hacks to change passive voice to active voice.

The first thing an editor tackles when working with a new client is disinfecting a manuscript from the passive voice. Passive voice limits fiction’s power by diminishing the affirmative, the action, and adding wordiness. Many editors, publishers, agents, and authors see the flagrant use of passive voice as the mark of an amateur writer. Take charge of your writing impact and perfect your style with theses hacks changing passive voice to active voice.

Passive voice myths

  • Passive voice is a grammatical error.
  • Any use of the verb “be” creates the passive voice.
  • The first person (I or we) avoids the passive voice.
  • One should never write int the passive voice.

Passive voice fact

  • The passive voice is shunned because like dangling participles, the poor writing style often confuses the reader when the sentence object and subject are reversed.
  • Makes writing wordy by injecting many prepositions to switch the object and subject.
  • Mark of an ametuer writer.
  • Dulls a verb’s action and diminishes the writing’s affirmative.
passive voice to active voice


What indicates passive voice?

Passive sentence construction occurs when an action’s object is turned into the subject. Often, a form of “to be” is followed by a participle (verb ending in -ed or -ing) or using the word “by.”

Simplified? If you can add the phrase “by zombies” to the end of the sentence and it still makes sense, you are in the passive voice.


When is it acceptable to use passive voice?

  • To emphasize an object.
  • To de-emphasize an unknown subject/actor.
  • If readers need not know who’s responsible for the action.


Passive voice to active voice strategy

Identify the passive voice

    1. Look for the passive voice: “to be” + a participle (usually, but not always, ending in -ed or -ing). Search for the following words: by, is, are, were, was, being, has, had, having, have, be)
    2. Does the sentence describe an action? If so, is the subject before the verb, and is the object after the verb?


    1. Put the subject first (who is doing the verb).
    2. Extract the verb and place it last.
    3. Third, write the object.

Example: Several things are indicated by these results.



several things

Corrected: Results indicated several things.

Remember, sometimes, a writer needs a passive voice for impact or meaning. Make sure the sentence is clear, and the object and subject agree. 

Eliminate prepositional phrases

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