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Passive or active voice?

  1. profile image0
    pburgerposted 7 years ago

    When and why do you prefer to use the 'passive' rather than the 'active' voice?

  2. profile image0
    Website Examinerposted 7 years ago

    To emphasize the object, adding a philosophical or poetic touch: "The road less traveled is the preferred route for some people."

  3. Cagsil profile image61
    Cagsilposted 7 years ago

    I prefer to be both.

    I have a passive sense about myself. I'm not an aggressive person.

    But, I am active about my voice in the present, which I was not some years ago. I finished my research about life, with regards to religion's role, which opened a new clarity I did not have before hand. So, now I am writing everything I've learned, so as to be my active voice, until other factors come to bare fruit.

    Once that occurs, then I will be active more than passive. wink big_smile

    1. profile image0
      pburgerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I'm not sure that is 'passive' and 'active' voice - but thanks anyway... smile big_smile

  4. getitrite profile image79
    getitriteposted 7 years ago

    Sometimes the passive voice can be used in writing History.  It's a wonderful tool to use when the writer doesn't want to accept accountability. 

    For example:  "Many of the Indians in the New World were slaughtered", 

    instead of:  "Europeans slaughtered many of the Indians in the New World"

    1. profile image0
      pburgerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      big_smile yes, yes - lol lack of accountability - how easy with the passive voice lol

  5. Shadesbreath profile image86
    Shadesbreathposted 7 years ago

    Like Getitright said, passive voice is useful when the narrator wants to distance him/herself from something.  For example, companies will use it to distance themselves from a price increase.

    Active voice:  We have raised your prices.

    Passive voice: Prices have been raised.

    The first can invoke resentment, given that the "we" have acted against you, so to speak, by raising your prices.  It's "our" fault.

    The second makes it so that "we" are not the agent of the action.  It's not our fault.  We didn't do it.  At least not in the sentence. 

    There are other uses in literature as well, but I risk boring you to death as it is.  It's a function of style and intent, bottom line.  Creating the effect you need to move your reader into a mood or belief that sets the stage for your purpose rhetorical or artistic.

    Most people use it by accident, at which point it usually is a bad idea.

    1. Falsor Wing profile image82
      Falsor Wingposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      You're a master example giver sir. Bravo.

  6. Joni Douglas profile image86
    Joni Douglasposted 7 years ago

    Those are great responses.

  7. Sally's Trove profile image81
    Sally's Troveposted 7 years ago

    There's a purpose for passive voice when you want to avoid the "she / he" challenge. As in, "The course is plotted with skill and certainty," as opposed to, "The navigator plots his course with skill and certainty," when the "navigator" could be either feminine or masculine.

    1. profile image0
      pburgerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Other than passive voice, I find many other ways 'to avoid the "she / he" challenge'...

      In your example, '"The navigator plots his course with skill and certainty' the pronoun seems redundant. "The navigator plots a course with skill and certainty," seems adequate and non-sexist.

  8. profile image0
    ShadowKing!posted 7 years ago

    Both have their places of power in verbal & oral presentations. The choice belongs to the writer or orator. However, one should employ either based on the subject matter therein used & the audience therein intended. Or else misunderstanding may occur.