Passive Voice Sentence: Benefits and Rules

Passive voice has a lot of bad PR. It leaves…

Passive voice has a lot of bad PR. It leaves you wondering if it is that bad. Active voice, its twin brother, is the darling of every writing coach. They say it’s better-sounding and simple.

Contrary to popular opinion, passive voice has a lot of benefits. This is why you should know how to rewrite sentence in passive voice. Knowing this adds more dynamism to your writing.

Once you master the art of rewriting sentences in passive voice, you’re ready to tackle more complex stuff.

woman in yellow and black floral dress sitting on brown wooden chair
Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Difference Between Active and Passive Voice

Before delving deeper, let’s understand the difference between the two of them. Active voice refers to sentences where the subject (the performer of an action) performs an action.

On the other hand, a passive sentence inverts this structure. In a passive sentence, the object (receiver of the action) takes center stage, while the subject is introduced much later or not at all.

  • Anna played the piano — Active
  • The piano was played by Anna — Passive
  • I drove the truck — Active
  • The truck was driven by me — Passive
  • She swept the floor — Active
  • The floor was swept by her — Passive

Why Use Passive Sentences?

While passive sentences aren’t necessarily recommended for all writing projects, there are times when it is okay to use them. They can help you convey your message better.

1. Emphasize the Object

When you need to lay more emphasis on the object of a sentence, a passive sentence will be helpful. A passive sentence introduces the receiver of the action first. This difference shifts the attention of the readers and listeners to the object. It is the first thing they see and hear.

2. the Subject Is Obvious or Irrelevant

There are instances where the subject of a sentence is already obvious and doesn’t need to be stated. In such cases, we can use passive voice since the subject of a sentence isn’t a compulsory part of a passive sentence.

3. Retain Anonymity

You can use passive voice to retain the anonymity of the performer of an action. Story writers use this more often to heighten the suspense in their writing.

4. Increase Word Count

Due to the fact that passive sentences tend to be longer, people use them to increase the word count of their articles. Passive sentences tend to be longer than their active variants by at least two words.

How to Rewrite Sentence in Passive Voice

If you need to rewrite a sentence in passive voice, that means the sentence is already in active voice. At worst, you have a jumbled set of words to work with. First, let’s identify the compulsory elements of passive sentences. There are only two of them. They are:

  • The recipient of the action, usually a noun or pronoun (the direct object of an active sentence)
  • The verb (the action performed)

It’s crucial to note that you can’t change an active sentence that doesn’t have a direct object to a passive sentence. 

The performer of the action (subject of an active sentence) is an optional element of a passive sentence. This means you may choose to include it or leave it out.

To rewrite sentence in passive voice, follow these steps:

  • Identify the compulsory elements stated above. 
  • Switch the direct object to the initial position. 
  • Change the verb to its corresponding past participle form.
  • It gets trickier here as you have to add an auxiliary verb, “be,” to the verb. 
  • Finally, you introduce the active subject using “by.”

This final step can be skipped if the subject is unknown or irrelevant. Let’s check a few examples:

Example 1: Professor Meaden taught the students. (Active voice)

  • Direct object — the students
  • Verb — taught
  • Subject — Professor Meaden

The students were taught by Professor Meaden. (Passive voice)

Example 2: He is writing a resignation letter. (Active voice)

  • Direct object — a resignation letter
  • Verb — is writing
  • Subject — he

A resignation is being written by him. (Passive voice)

AI Tools to Rewrite Sentences

If you need to rewrite any type of sentence, there are a number of AI tools to help you out. With these tools, you can write faster and more efficiently.

INK

INK screenshot
INK

INK has gradually grown to become a favorite AI tool for writers. It can instantly rewrite any type of sentence. Whether you’re trying to expand the sentence or simplify it, INK has you covered.

Users can enjoy INK’s rewriting capability in different ways. You can download the app on your computer or use the Chrome extension. The app allows you to create copies and articles using a distraction-free writing interface. To use the rewrite function on your browser, highlight the sentence and click the INK icon that appears. INK automatically generates different rewritten versions of the highlighted sentence.

If you want to identify passive sentences in your writing, INK has a tool dedicated to this. You only need to paste your text into the box, and INK will fish out the passive sentences therein.

Other Features

  • Unlimited rewrites on the free plan
  • Optimizes your headlines
  • The editor optimizes content for SEO
  • Over 120 writing tools

QuillBot

QuillBot screenshot
QuillBot

When it comes to rewriting sentences, QuillBot is one of the best in the business. It offers multiple rewriting modes and an easy-to-use interface. Users can access a couple of modes for free. However, only the premium plan grants access to all paraphrasing modes.

Other Features

  • Microsoft Word and Chrome extensions
  • Grammar and plagiarism checker

Grammarly

Grammarly screengrab
Grammarly

Grammarly is another quality tool to check for passive voice in your writing. This AI-powered tool checks content for other things like grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Grammarly can change passive sentences that contain the subject to active sentences.

Other Features

  • Plagiarism checker
  • Includes readability score
  • Microsoft Word add-on

Conclusion

Passive voice has its benefits, and it is good to know when to use it. Variety is the spice of life, and it won’t hurt to find a few passive sentences among active sentences. If you want to limit passive sentences, an AI tool like INK can help you identify them.

Frequently asked questions

What effect do passive voice verbs have on writing?

The tone of your writing is partly determined by the choice between passive and active verbs. Passive verbs make writing more wordy, elaborate, formal, polite and old-fashioned.

What are the basic rules of voice changing?

Active VoicePassive Voice
Formula: Subject + to be (is, am, are) + present participle + objectFormula: S + to be (is, am, are) + being + past participle + by object

What is the benefit of passive voice?

Fosters Objectivity. A passive voice creates a sense of emotional distance between the reader and the narrative, making the reader more objective about what he or she is reading. There are many reasons why scientific reports are often written in passive voices.

What is the purpose of passive voice sentences?

Passive voice is used to indicate interest in the person or object that experiences an action, rather than the person/object that performs it. Hence, the most important thing or person becomes the subject matter of the sentence.

What are some of the benefits of using the active voice?

An active voice makes writing more concise and effective; Creates a faster-moving narrative that allows for easier writing and more engaging reading; Cleans up the sentence and prevents grammatical mistakes.

Why do we use passive voice instead of active voice?

Always consider whether you should use passive or active voice in your writing. When you want to draw attention to the reader, use the passive voice, or if you want focus on the action, you should use the active voice.

What is the important rules in passive voice?

In order to emphasize the action (the verb) and the object in a sentence rather than the subject, we use the passive voice. So this means that the subject is either less important than the action itself or that we do not know who or what that subject is.

What are the different rules to change the voice?

  • She bought a car with an active voice. There is an object in her life (a new car).).
  • Passive voice: Her car was purchased by her. She is the object of a new car.).

What is passive voice and give 5 examples?

Active VoicePassive VoiceVerb Tense
They were painting the house when I arrived.The house was being painted when I arrived.Past Continuous
They have produced over 20 models in the past two years.Over 20 models have been produced in the past two years.Present Perfect

What is the benefits of active and passive voice?

Writers must be intentional about their voice in order to ensure clarity. Active voice is often recommended for clarity, while passive voice can help to avoid unnecessary repetition. A voice that is active can help ensure clarity by showing the reader who will act in the sentence.

How many types of passive voice are there?

Passive voice is one of seven types according to Pullum. With be, prepositional passive, bare passive, embedded passive, adjectival passive to get passive, and concealed passive, passives are passive with be.

What are the three basic rules of active and passive voice?

First, you need to change the structure, so the object in the active voice becomes the subject in the passive voice. Second, you must use the verb ‘in the same tense as the main verb in the active voice. Finally, you must use the past participle of the main verb.

How do you teach passive voice?

  • Demonstrate an Active Voice.
  • Explain the Passive Voice Structure.
  • What I’ve Been Up To In The Past.
  • 4. Swap The Subject Of An Active Voice Sentence and The Object.
  • Change The Verb To The Past Participate.
  • Add ‘to be’ and ‘by’ to step 6.

What is passive voice formula?

A passive verb phrase is typically marked with a verb before the performer of the action in a sentence: form of “be” verb + a past participle Note: * although not always the case, the passive voice is.

What are the three reasons to use passive voice?

  • Crimes or incidents that are unsolved or unsolvable.
  • Taking a moment to emphasize an action and the doer of the action is irrelevant or distracting:.
  • 2 Scientific contexts
Passive Voice Sentence: Benefits and Rules

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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