Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Active vs. Passive Verbs

When writing fiction, you will want to use active verbs as much as possible. It helps keep the story active and the reader engaged.

Do you know the difference between "active" and "passive" verbs?

Well, don't worry, we're going to discuss them here.

In ACTIVE sentences, the thing doing the action is the subject of the sentence and the thing receiving the action is the object.

For example: Todd threw the ball to Jane.

Thing doing action = Todd
Verb = threw
Thing receiving action = ball

In PASSIVE sentences, the thing receiving the action is the subject of the sentence and the thing doing the action is usually included near the end of the sentence. You might use the passive form if you think that the thing receiving the action is more important or should be emphasized. You might also want to use the passive form if you do not know who is doing the action of if you do not want to mention who is doing the action.

For example: The ball was thrown by Todd.

Thing receiving the action = ball
Passive verb = was thrown
Thing doing action = Todd

This link has a very good example of how to use passive or active voice, how to change to either, and why.

If you'd like to take a quiz and determine active or passive in a variety of sentences click here.

Your mission today, if you choose to follow it, is to take a passage of your own writing and revise all the verbs in it. Try to make as many active sentences as possible in order to create a more dynamic section of writing.

If you want, you can post your pieces here in the comments.

If you still have questions, let me know and we'll clear them up for you.