Writing in Passive Voice or Active Voice



My topic today, as I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo is how to write in active voice and avoid passive voice.

I still find myself puzzled by active vs passive voice, so these sites are as much for my reference as for yours.

I have two links for you. Both are very good at explaining the difference.

The Passive Voice

“… active (The executive committee approved the new policy) or

passive (The new policy was approved by the executive committee)”

Active/Passive Verb Forms

Active: “[Thing doing action] + [verb] + [thing receiving action]”

Passive: “[Thing receiving action] + [be] + [past participle of verb] + [by] + [thing doing action]”

This is active voice: The swimmer reached the end of the pool.

This is passive voice: The end of the pool was reached by the swimmer.

If you are thinking of participating in Camp NaNoWriMo best of luck to you! I am ready to begin tomorrow, although I may start a few hours early.


Those ly Words




The use of “ly” words tends to be frowned on by the majority of writers and sites where one finds writing tips.

There is an excellent word detective at Hemingway which is free. The software will highlight all those “ly” words, let you know if the writing is too difficult to read, and whether or not the writing uses passive voice.

In addition, there is a paid version, for Mac and Windows at a reasonable price.*

*Note: this is my personal opinion and I receive no remuneration for writing about this product.

I find that a lot of words ending in “ing” annoy me. My first drafts tend to contain a lot of them.

I am also annoyed by a certain popular bestselling author who writes “a couple apples”. Not a couple “of” apples, but “a couple apples”. I suspect this may be a regional thing, because where I live the “of” is acceptable. Nevertheless, this author uses the phrase constantly and it detracts from my reading. I have given up her books because of the passages that jumped out at me as I read. I couldn’t enjoy reading and ignore those phrases.

Now, it just so happens that one of my favorite writers uses adverbs a lot. I notice an adverb now and then, but I enjoy the books.

I have read online, too, that the writer should avoid using “was”, “just” and “that”. I don’t agree. I think that one can get so bogged down with “rules” that writing becomes a chore rather than inspiration on paper (or computer, phone, etc). While writing can be hard work at times, it should also bring some joy and satisfaction too.

Whatever your pet peeve may be, keep writing and keep reading.