Knowing When To Use Passive Voice » Discussions

Knowing When To Use Passive Voice

  • July 29, 2019

    Passive voice and its counterpart; the active voice has been the source of trouble for many students in writing. Understanding the passive voice and knowing when to apply them properly goes a long way in improving the quality of your writing. Here is an example of an active voice and a passive voice

    • Active:Steve Jobs founded Apple in his garage.

    • Passive:Steve Jobs founded Apple in his garage.

    In a passive sentence, Sometimes the actor can be entirely omitted as given in the example below

    Example: Apple was founded in a garage.

    Correct Usage of Passive Voice

    You can make use of the passive voice in any of these cases

    • When the person or thing responsible for the action is unknown

    Example: The bronze artworks of Benin Empire were taken to Britain

    • When the person or thing responsible for an action is not relevant

    Example: A new stadium will be built in New York.

    • If you wish to be vague about the person or thing responsible for an action

    Examples: Promises were made

    • When you are talking about general truths

    Example: Obstacles are made to be conquered

    • When you want to emphasize the thing or person acted upon rather than the person responsible for the action

    Example: The movie was first screened in 3D by the producers at the white house. It is still the highest-grossing movie ever.

    • When you are writing scientific research papers and lab reports

    Examples: The liquefied gas was collected over hot air. This gas was then dissolved in water.

    Wrong Usage ofthe Passive Voice

    In academic writing, passive voice can get you in trouble because of how they can be vague about actors. On, you can get papers that employ passive voices correctly written for you. Trained professionals will be the ones handling your paper.

    In writing an academic paper, you often have to differentiate between the ideas of different researchers and yours as well, which is why employing the passive voice would hinder the clarity of your work. For you to perfect these skills, you ought to comb over the various citation styles that exist. Various learning disciplines call for unique ways of citation. A business paper will be referenced in a distinct way, separate from a paper dealing with matters law.


    The passive voice, when used appropriately, can help define the quality of your paper but like other aspects of the English language, they have to be used properly. Learn how to employ passive voice in your essays and papers appropriately.Understand the relevance of voices in the overall quality of your work. You will now be able to know when to use the passive voice and when not to.

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