One of the many emphasizes made in a writing class is that passive voice is a deadly seen. “Use active voice! Eliminate the passive voice!” Instructors will repeat again and again. Why is it better to use active voice than passive in your writing? How does the latter weaken your writing and the active voice make it tighter and stronger?
Passive voice, when used in a sentence, results in a scenario where the subject receives an action. On the other hand, active voice in a similar sentence results in a scenario where the subject performs the action. As a result, active voice is clearer and makes for more concise sentences as opposed to passive voice. Passive voice in most cases will make the sentence weak and long-winded which in turn will carry this effect over to your entire writing.
No need to be wordy when you can be concise and have more space for better character developments. To improve clarity in your writing, you need to ensure that it has the least amount of passive voice use possible. While passive voice is not wrong, overuse weakens your writing weak and therefore, you need to be aware of its use to ensure you use it appropriately and strategically if need be. Here is why you should eliminate passive voice from your writing:
It Saps Verb Power
The main reason why passive voice is considered a weakening entity to your writing is that it reduces the verbs power in the sentences that make up your overall writing process. This makes sentences weak and awkward and hence your writing also appears weak.
It Increases Wordiness
No one wants a long-winded account of events which will make them lose concentration. Passive voice emphasizes the subject but unfortunately, it can in most cases increase the wordiness of a sentence. What can be said in so many words can be said in a shorter way through the use of active voice. The passive voice, therefore, can undermine the readers’ understanding by diminishing conciseness and hence, clarity.
Passive Voice Adds Complexity
Passive voice can make sentences complex and in the same way, make it harder for the reader to enjoy. This is because they are wordy and reduce verb power, therefore, reducing the sentence’s power as wells. Instead of using passive voice to keep your sentences stylistically beautiful, use active voice to deliver punchy sentences that are easier to read, precise, energetic and exciting and hence, are more likely to keep encouraging the reader to continue reading.
Catching Passive Voice
If you're looking for something to give you a quick overview then the Hemingway App is definitely a good option to show you passive voice. I recommend pasting in your work 1000 words at a time or chapter by chapter so you, and the programme, aren't overwhelmed.