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Many people hear that they should not use passive voice when writing documents. The problem is that they do not know if the sentence they have written is in a passive or active voice. 

Passive voice is normally used when people want to emphasize the action that is being done rather than the subject. The intent is clear, but identifying passive voice can be confusing for a lot of people. 

How to Know if a Sentence is Active or Passive

To correct the use of passive voice in documents, people may spend a lot of time deciphering the text they have. There is an easy way how to fix passive voice misuse – simply use the right tool for it.

You need to know how to tell if a sentence is active or passive. Learning more details about sentences will help you with this. Plus, the use of a sentence structure fixer may be the only thing that you need.

The sentence is in the passive voice when the sentence’s main subject acts upon the subject.

Example: The punch bowl was given by Andrea.

If this passive sentence were changed to the active form, it would be:

Andrea gave the punch bowl.

Sentences in the active voice form will usually sound clear and direct to the point. People prefer reading sentences in the active form because they can understand the meaning of the sentences better.

Parts of a Sentence 

It will be easier to understand the parts of a sentence when you know the roles of the words written there. 

Cats prefer eating fish.”

In this sentence in the active form, the subject is “cats” because it is doing the action, which is the preference for the direct object, the “fish.” This means that eating is the verb. Prefer is an adjective, while fish is the direct object.

If this sentence were changed to passive form, it would be like this:

Fish are preferred to be eaten by cats.”

Their roles are the same, but it is already in a different form. To be honest, among the two sentences, which one is easier to understand? Most people would understand the active voice form better. Some people look for passive voice indicators when they are looking at documents. This will let them know if there are some parts that they should change or not.

The passive voice indicators are usually these words:

  • Am
  • Is
  • Was
  • Were
  • Are
  • Been

If you see these words in your sentence, chances are, the sentence is written in passive form. There is an easier way to tell if a sentence is in active or passive voice; you simply need to find passive sentences using the proper passive sentence checker.

How to Identify Passive Sentences

Using passive voice does not mean that your grammar is wrong. There are times when using passive voice is recommended. Some writers like that they can provide an indirect expression through their sentences. 

Other times when passive voice can be used are the following:

  • The situations being described are being presented rhetorically. 
  • This is more effective when the doer of the action is already apparent.
  • This can also be used when the subject doing the action is unknown or unidentified.
  • Using passive voice can be effective when the source of the action is not important.
  • Passive voice can also be effective with gerunds.

This means that if you want to write about the action or highlight the action more than the doer, the use of passive voice is correct. If you already know the subject or if the subject isn’t obvious, this is the time when using active voice will be more ideal. You can still know how to identify sentences with passive voice the more you work with different documents.

how to fix passive voice misuse

How to Use Passive Voice Correctly?

People still get confused with using passive voice. As mentioned earlier, there are times when this can be used correctly and effectively. There are some tips to use passive voice correctly, such as the following:

  • There are times when the direct object is the most important part of the sentence. 

The president was proven to have stolen a large amount of money from the funds of the people.”

The direct object here is the president. It makes sense that when you are writing a headline, you need to come up with one newsworthy. You want people to notice what you have written. Using passive voice is more ideal for this.

  • Make sure that the action is important to understand the instructions. There are a lot of scientific modules and written works in passive form because it makes more sense that way. An example is this sentence:

“The graduated cylinder contains acetic acid that will be poured into the beaker.”

  • Your spelling should always be correct. It will make the passive sentence easier to understand.
  • Using passive voice does not mean that your sentence is wrong grammar. Double-check your grammar with the right tool. Some tools will allow you to know how to identify passive and active sentences that will also check your grammar quickly.

Remember that the most important thing is to remember your subject position. To make this easier, look at the tenses used in the sentences. As long as the direct object is placed before the verb, the sentence is passive.

how to tell if a sentence is active or passive

Using Passive Sentence Checker

There are different passive sentence checkers that you can find right now. Most will help you know how to identify sentences with passive voice. Others will do more than that. They can do a complete check of the document that you have placed. You can get the report within minutes. There is no need to waste time checking your document or text. 

You should also know how to identify complex sentences. These are sentences to avoid when trying to make people understand what you have written. It is best to stick with sentences that are easy to understand. 

The sentence structure fixer will provide the help you need to make your sentences clearer and easier to understand. Give it a try!