Thursday, December 02, 2010

Voice, Part 11: Changing Active to Passive

In this final post of the active-passive voice series, I’ll turn to how to change active voice to passive voice.

In the November 1 post, I gave three reasons for preferring passive voice. If you find yourself in one of those situations, simply focus on the people or things that are acted upon by making them the subjects of the sentence. Examples:

Active: The fire department is extinguishing the fire.
Passive: The fire is being extinguished.

Active: The lab technician examined the specimen.
Passive: The specimen was examined.

Active: Fred might make a mistake.
Passive: A mistake might be made.

The bottom line: Know the difference between passive and active, know when using one is better than using the other, and know how to transpose sentences either way. I wish you good luck—or good luck is wished to you.