Inspiration, Writing

Writing in Active Voice

In the realm of effective communication, the choice of words is paramount. Among the many tools at a writer’s disposal, the active voice stands as a beacon of clarity and impact. Writing in active voice empowers your sentences, making them more engaging and direct. Whether you’re crafting an essay, writing a story, a business proposal, or a simple email, understanding and utilizing the active voice can greatly enhance your communication prowess.

black and red typewriter on white table
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Understanding Active Voice and Passive Voice: The Basics

Before delving into the art of writing in active voice, let’s distinguish between active and passive voice.

Active voice places the subject of the sentence as the doer of the action while the object receives the action. In this construction, the subject is the main focus, and the sentence exudes a sense of immediacy and dynamism. For example: “The chef prepared a gourmet meal.”

Passive voice, on the other hand, reverses the roles. The object of the action becomes the subject of the sentence, downplaying the role of the doer. It can make sentences feel more distant or vague. For instance: “A gourmet meal was prepared by the chef.”

Why Choose Active Voice?

Writing in active voice offers a myriad of benefits that contribute to effective communication:

  1. Clarity: Active voice makes it clear who is performing the action, leaving no room for confusion. It eradicates ambiguity and allows the reader to grasp the message effortlessly.
  2. Conciseness: Active voice often requires fewer words to convey the same idea. It streamlines your writing, eliminating unnecessary fluff.
  3. Engagement: Active voice injects energy into your sentences, engaging the reader and propelling them forward through your content.
  4. Impact: Sentences written in active voice pack a punch. They command attention and leave a lasting impression on the reader’s mind.

Tips for Writing in Active Voice:

  1. Identify the Subject and Verb: Before constructing a sentence, identify the subject (the doer) and the verb (the action). This clarity is the foundation of active voice.
  2. Prioritize the Subject: Make the subject of your sentence the focal point. The subject should be the agent driving the action forward.
  3. Position the Object: If your sentence includes an object (the receiver of the action), place it after the verb. This structure highlights the action and its impact.
  4. Utilize Strong Verbs: In active voice, strong verbs carry the weight of the action. Instead of relying on weak verbs combined with auxiliary verbs, choose words that vividly express the action.
  5. Cut Redundant Phrases: Passive voice often leads to wordy constructions. Eliminate redundant phrases and adverbs that weaken the impact of your writing.
  6. Be Direct: Active voice allows you to be direct and concise. Avoid excessive prepositional phrases that can muddy the clarity of your sentences.
  7. Vary Sentence Length: While active voice is dynamic, varying sentence length prevents monotony. Mix short and punchy sentences with more elaborate ones for a balanced rhythm.
  8. Practice Editing: When you finish writing, dedicate time to editing and rewriting sentences in active voice. This practice will help you internalize the structure.

Examples of Transformation:

  1. Passive: “The project proposal was approved by the committee.” —–> Active: “The committee approved the project proposal.”
  2. Passive: “The novel was written by the renowned author.” —–> Active: “The renowned author wrote the novel.”

Embrace the Power of Active Voice: Writing in active voice is more than a stylistic choice; it’s a commitment to clear and impactful communication. By harnessing the energy and immediacy that active voice offers, you can effectively engage your readers, convey your ideas with precision, and leave a lasting impression. Through practice and conscious effort, the art of writing in active voice can become second nature, enhancing your writing skills and enriching your communication toolkit.

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