English Lesson: Active vs Passive Voice

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I like sweets. I know, I shouldn’t eat a lot of sweets, but tonight my sister brought some cupcakes to my house for dessert. Ever since the TV show Sex in the City became popular, cupcakes became a really popular treat in the USA. How about in you r country? Now, lots of bakeries make cupcakes. If you’ve never had a cupcake, they are tiny cakes with very delicious and sweet frosting on top. Today’s cupcakes were made by my sister. They were yummy!

Today we will look at the difference between the active and the passive voice. Do you know the difference? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson.

Let’s compare the following sentences:

  • My sister made the cupcakes                 ← active voice
  • The cupcakes were made by my sister  ← passive voice

Both of these sentences mean the same thing. However, there is a huge difference in how they are used. The active voice is more conversational than the passive voice.  It is clear to the listener because it focuses on who did the action. The active voice is more common in everyday English conversation.

  • My sister made the cupcakes
  • Jane found a wallet on the bus
  • Frank won the race.

The passive voice is less conversational than the active voice.  It is less clear to the listener because it focuses on action and takes more words to explain. The passive voice is more common in scientific or technical writing or reporting. The passive voice is more common when discussing a process:

  • The cupcakes were made by my sister
  • A wallet was found by Jane.
  • The race was won by Frank.

When you speak or write in your journal, try to use the active voice for clearer communication. Thanks for reading today!

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