Active Voice Versus Passive Voice: Which Creates More Confident Writing?

Animate your writing with active voice.

Active voice is an essential element of engaging and confident writing. As a copywriter or blogger, you must take ownership of your content by using active voice, which allows you to show confidence, make your writing more engaging and easier to read, and even strengthen your brand’s voice. This article will explain the differences between active and passive voice, how to identify them, when using passive voice is okay, and how to check your content for the correct voice.

Definitions of Active Voice and Passive Voice

Active voice is a way of writing where the subject of a sentence acts as the verb. In contrast, passive voice is where the verb acts upon the subject of a sentence, and an object or agent receives the action defined by the verb.

Here are five examples of active voice sentences:

  1. The dog chased the cat.
  2. The chef cooked the steak to perfection.
  3. The teacher taught the lesson to the students.
  4. The singer sang the national anthem at the game.
  5. The child broke the vase while playing.

Now here are five examples of passive voice sentences:

  1. The cat was chased by the dog.
  2. The steak was cooked to perfection by the chef.
  3. The lesson was taught to the students by the teacher.
  4. The national anthem was sung at the game by the singer.
  5. The vase was broken while playing by the child.

How to Identify the Voice in Your Writing

Identifying the voice in a sentence is relatively easy. The key is to focus on the sentence’s subject and the verb. In active voice, the subject performs the verb’s action, and the verb’s tense is typically present or past tense. 

In passive voice, the subject receives the verb’s action, and the verb’s tense is typically in the past or present perfect tense.

Here’s an example to illustrate this point:

  • Active voice: The cat scratched the sofa. 
  • Passive voice: The sofa was scratched by the cat.

Notice how the subject, cat, performs the action of scratching in the active sentence, whereas the subject, sofa, seems to animate the action of scratching in the passive sentence. That doesn’t make sense, does it?

When Is it OK to Write With Passive Voice?

Certain types of writing, such as scientific or technical writing, may require passive voice. For example, scientific research focuses on the results and not on who performed the experiment. 

However, for most copywriting and blogging, active voice is the best way to engage your audience and strengthen your brand’s voice.

Passive Voice is Not Grammatically Inaccurate, But It Dulls Your Copy

It’s important to note that passive voice is not grammatically incorrect but can make a sentence unclear or dull. That’s because passive voice often obscures the sentence’s subject and can create a distance between the reader and the action described. 

In contrast, active voice makes the sentence more direct and engaging by placing the sentence’s subject at the beginning and emphasizing the action performed.

For example, consider the following sentence, written in passive voice: “The cake was baked by John.” 

While this sentence is technically correct, it feels distant or impersonal. 

By rewriting the sentence in active voice, we can make it more engaging and clear: “John baked the cake.” 

Now, the subject is clear, with emphatic action, making the sentence more direct and engaging for the reader.

How to Check Your Content to Ensure You Use the Correct Voice

Grammar checker tools like Grammarly or ProWritingAid can check your content to ensure you use the correct voice. These AI-powered tools can detect passive voice and suggest ways to convert the sentence into active voice.

Here are some other features and benefits of Grammarly and ProWritingAid:

  • Grammarly offers a free version, while ProWritingAid offers a free trial.
  • Both tools offer suggestions for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
  • They can identify repetitive words and suggest alternatives.
  • They can check for plagiarism.

Summing It Up: Active Voice Makes Your Sentences Lack Confidence

Active voice in your writing is crucial for engaging and confident copywriting and blogging. Active voice lets you take ownership of your content, show confidence, and grab your audience’s attention. Grammar checker tools like Grammarly and ProWritingAid can help you use the correct voice while offering other writing suggestions and benefits. On the other hand, you can entrust your content to our team–connect with us for help. To stay up-to-date with more writing tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook.

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