A Writing Lesson: Active vs. Passive Voice.
Just a quick little lesson in more effective writing today. Grammar Girl's most recent lesson is about active vs. passive voice. It's a simple concept, once you understand it, but one that many people struggle to get a handle on at first.
Here's a sneak peek at what GG has to say on the subject:
A lot of you have asked me to explain passive voice and how to avoid it.
I'll start with active voice because it's simpler. In an active sentence, the subject is doing the action. A very straightforward example is the sentence "Steve loves Amy." Steve is the subject, and he is doing the action: he loves Amy, the object. Another example is the title of the Marvin Gaye song I Heard It through the Grapevine. I is the subject, the one who is doing the action. I is hearing it, the object of the sentence.
In passive voice the target of the action gets promoted to the subject position. Instead of saying, "Steve loves Amy," I would say, "Amy is loved by Steve." The subject of the sentence becomes Amy, but she isn't doing anything. Rather, she is just the recipient of Steve's love. The focus of the sentence has changed from Steve to Amy. If you wanted to make the title of the Marvin Gaye song passive, you would say It Was Heard by Me through the Grapevine, not such a catchy title anymore.
Go see what else she has to say to help you understand this!