Avoiding the Passive VoiceOct 29
I started to title this, Passive Voice, why it should be avoided, but that’s just a bit much, don’t you think?
It’s not a half-bad example of passive voice though. In short, passive voice is when the subject is not doing the action. Above, “it” isn’t avoiding anything, right? Here are some more examples of the passive voice, as well as better ways to write them.
The mailman was bitten by the dog.
The mailman (subject) isn’t doing the biting. Often, the passive voice will use the word “by,” or will at least include the idea of “by.”
The dog bit the mailman
You can see how that’s clearer!
Your luggage was lost.
Passive voice is often used when you don’t want to state the subject. Imagine an airline saying “We lost your luggage.” Probably not, right? Passive voice allows you to say that something happened without saying who did it.
Joseph was murdered in the study with a candlestick.
You could tell who murdered him, but that wouldn’t exactly add to the suspense, would it?
Remember, unless you have a very specific reason for using it, you should avoid the passive voice. It tends to make your writing clunky, not to mention wordy.