When is passive voice acceptable?

Asked by: Trevor Grindberg

Passive voice should be used when it’s important to emphasize the action being performed rather than who is doing it. If what matters is that Suzie is the one who asked, then active voice would be appropriate.

When should we use passive voice?

The passive voice is used when we want to focus attention on the person or thing affected by the action. Normally, the performer of the action, or the agent, comes first and is made the subject of the verb and then we use the active form of the verb. The other person or thing is made the object of the verb.

What are the three main reasons to use passive voice?

Here are the four big reasons you might want to use the passive voice — and how they can help you when you write nonfiction.

  • Emphasizes the Action. …
  • Creates a Sense of Anonymity. …
  • Fosters Objectivity. …
  • Imbues Authority.

When we can not use passive voice?

If a sentence has no object, it cannot be changed into passive voice. Passive voice is basically meant for emphasizing the object of the sentence. Therefore, a sentence must have a clear and known object in order to be converted into passive voice.

Why do some people use passive voice?

The passive voice is your friend when the thing receiving an action is the important part of the sentence—especially in scientific and legal contexts, times when the performer of an action is unknown, or cases where the subject is distracting or irrelevant.

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What are the reasons for against using the passive voice?

Reasons for not using the passive voice

The passive voice uses too many words, and at times can be difficult to understand. The active voice expresses in fewer words and is easy to understand. Writing tends to become clearer when unnecessary words are not used.

Is it OK to use passive voice?

There is nothing technically “wrong” in using a passive voice; it is a matter of style. Many English style guides require avoiding it to make sentences more clear. However, you should not completely avoid the passive voice, as sometimes it may be more convenient or even necessary to use.

What percentage of passive sentences is acceptable?

If your Passive Sentences score is below 10%, you’re doing well. Obviously the lower the better, but you don’t need to eliminate your passive voice completely. Aim for less than 10%. If your Passive Sentences statistic hits 20%, consciously focus on writing in the active tense until it becomes a habit.