Change a Passive Sentence to Active Voice

The active voice versus passive voice argument is one of…

The active voice versus passive voice argument is one of the never-ending debates in English language. Of the two, the active voice is more favored. However, it isn’t unusual to find content briefs that ask writers to use passive voice sparingly. Therefore, knowing how to rewrite a passive voice sentence is an invaluable skill.

This article offers in-depth analyses of the two and how to change passive voice sentences to active voice.

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

What Is an Active Voice Sentence?

Active voice refers to a sentence where the subject performs the action. In plain terms, a subject is a linguistic term that refers to the performer of an action. The underlined words in the active voice examples below are subjects:

  • Smith bought a perfume
  • We took the books
  • John and Pam opened the case

In these examples, the subjects directly act on their respective objects. Always remember this.

What Is a Passive Voice Sentence?

Passive voice sentences are sentences wherein the subject of the sentence is acted upon. The first structural difference you’ll notice between active and passive voice is how the subject gets displaced from the initial position.

In passive sentences, the object takes more prominence. The subject becomes an optional element of the sentence introduced by “by.”

  • A perfume was bought by Smith
  • The books were taken by us
  • The case was opened by John and Pam

Many reasons necessitate writing in passive voice. When the performer of an action is unknown, you can write in a passive voice. You could also use the passive voice when the performer of the action is already understood by context. For example:

  • I was born in 1975 (by my mother)

The performer of the action in the sentence above is easily understood and doesn’t have to be stated repeatedly.

How to Rewrite a Passive Voice Sentence

You can rewrite passive voice sentences in a few easy steps. The first step is to identify all the essential elements needed in an active sentence. These are:

  • A subject – the performer of the action, usually a noun or pronoun
  • A verb – the action performed
  • An object – the receiver of the action performed, usually a noun or pronoun

Once you’ve identified the three, eliminate the verb “be” and its variants (is, was, were, are). Change the past participle into a correctly conjugated verb. Place the performer of the action (subject) before the verb and the receiver of the action (object comes after).

Let’s try out these steps with this example:

He was bitten by a snake.

  • Subject – a snake
  • Verb – bite
  • Object – he

In the active voice, it becomes:

A snake bit him.

Note that pronoun “he” changes to “him” to reflect its object position in the sentence written in active voice. Always take note of this change when rewriting a passive voice sentence. 

AI Tools to Rewrite Passive Voice Sentences

You do not need to go through a great deal of stress to rewrite passive sentences. There are some AI-powered writing tools that can help you rewrite them faster.

INK

INK is an AI writing tool that helps you communicate better. The co-writing feature allows users to create content much faster. INK has a Chrome extension and a PC application. You can use any of the two to rewrite passive sentences, thanks to the sentence rewriter feature.

With INK’s sentence rewriter, users can change passive sentences on the application by highlighting the text and clicking “rewrite.” INK also has a passive voice checker on the website and application. This tool counts the number of passive sentences in your text. 

Other Features

  • Unlimited AI rewrites on the free plan
  • Real-time grammar and spelling checker
  • Headline and search engine optimizer

Grammarly

Grammarly is a proofreading tool that helps writers improve the readability and flow of their text. It can also help you identify passive sentences in your text. When Grammarly identifies passive sentences in your text, it can offer rewrite suggestions, especially when the subject is present. If not, it prompts you to include the subject.

  • Plagiarism checker
  • Chrome and MS Office extensions
  • Grammarly keyboard for mobile

QuillBot

QuillBot is another quality option to consider when trying to rewrite passive voice sentences. The tool has a range of paraphrasing modes that rewrite instantly. Users can access two paraphrasing modes on the free plan. 

Other Features

  • Grammar and plagiarism checker
  • Chrome and Microsft Word extensions
  • Summarizer and citation generator

Conclusion

Knowing how to rewrite a passive voice sentence into an active voice sentence is a simple way to improve your writing. You may not even have to rewrite such sentences when you use AI writing tools.

With INK, you only need to highlight the sentence, and this AI-powered tool will handle the rest. This tool makes it easier to eliminate passive voice and create articles and essays that are easy to read.

Change a Passive Sentence to Active Voice

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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