Active vs Passive Voice

Language (for the most part) starts a sentence with the subject (the “doer.”) In English, the verb (the action) follows the subject. The object (if there is one), the receiver of the action, comes after the verb. This rule is (essentially) the foundation of the English language.

Passive voice occurs when the writer uses a noun or noun phrase that would be the object of an active sentence as the subject of a sentence or clause.

For example:

(Passive) At the baseball game last week, I was hit by a foul ball.
The foul ball, in this case, is not the subject of the sentence; I am the subject. But, I am not doing anything, in this case, something was done to me. So, the “correct” way to write this would be:
(Active)At the baseball game last week, a foul ball hit me.

The reason I put the word “correct” in quotes like that is because, technically, writing in the passive voice is not grammatically incorrect. The reason teachers, professors, or editors harp on it is because writing in this style can often attribute to errors in clarity.

Here’s an example:

(passive) A new system of gun control laws was set up. (By whom?)
(active) The new President set up a new system of gun control laws.

Ciao Bella,
Stephanie