Ask Me a Question

If you have a writing, grammar, style or punctuation question, send an e-mail message to curiouscase at sign hotmail dot com.

Add Your Own Criminal Sentence!

If you find a particularly terrible sentence somewhere, post it for all to see (go here and put it in the Comments section).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Criminal Sentence 77: Passive vs. Active Voice

Today there's no specific criminal sentence, but I thought I'd go over what passive voice and active voice are. Passive voice is generally not what you want; active voice is.

Passive voice: The book was dropped.
Active voice: So and so dropped the book.

In this passive sentence, we didn't state who dropped the book. Now, if the focus is on the book, then it's less important to state who did it. Most of the time, however, it's clear who did what, so it's better to state it so readers don't have to guess.

Passive voice: The table was set by my son.
Active voice: My son set the table.

Passive voice has three components:
A form of the verb to be: "was" in the sentence above
A past participle: "set" in the sentence above
The word "by"

My book goes over this in detail and gives you a chance to rewrite a few passive paragraphs.

No comments: