Why Be Passive When You Can Stay Active?

Posted: December 20th, 2013, 9:09 pm   By: brittany.corners

Many writers do not understand the power that active verbs hold. Passive voice is ok; however, active voice speaks louder and bolder to the reader. The longer lasting impact of a paragraph full of active verbs in comparison to passive verbs proves immense in numbers and effect.
For example, you can say, “You are pretty” and pay a nice compliment. Would you not rather hear something like, “Your beauty steals my breath away and weakens my knees.”

Your best bet is to use intransitive verbs as often as possible. For instance, to restate the last sentence and make it active: Utilize intransitive verbs as often as possible to ensure less usage of passive voice. “Steals” from the example above is transitive but still grabs the reader’s attention and is fully realized by the rest of the sentence. If you choose a transitive verb, make it a good one with which you can combine great adjectives for a stronger statement.

Using active voice challenges even the best of writers, but it is possible. It requires a bit more thinking and creativity, both of which you have plenty! The copula ‘be’ is a necessary verb. Is, am, are, was and were demand a presence in the English language. You can replace them rather easily with more active verbs.

If you want to practice writing in active voice, you have a couple of options. One, just write out your thoughts and then reread each sentence. If you have any passive voice, insert active verbs and edit the phrase as needed. Another way to stay in active voice is to consider your audience and write as though you are speaking directly to it. These ideas provide you with just a couple of different ways to write in active voice as much as possible.

Remember, you are a good writer is a perfectly good sentence. This one may resonate a little longer and stronger if you repeat it to yourself: You write with amazingly creative talent and style!