The Practical Guide to Voice in English Grammar (Rules + Real-life Examples)

Author Jason Noble

Posted Mar 6, 2023

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Voice in English grammar is a fundamental concept that every speaker of the language should understand. There are two types of voices: active voice and passive voice. Knowing the difference between the two and when to use each type is essential to effectively communicate in English.

Being able to recognize and use active and passive voices can significantly improve your writing skills, especially if you are a non-native speaker. While using active voice is preferred in most cases, passive voices have their place in written communication as well. Understanding voice in English grammar can help you avoid common mistakes and make your writing more clear and concise for native speakers to understand. In this practical guide, we will explore the rules behind voice in English grammar, along with real-life examples to help you master this fundamental concept.

Understanding Voice in English Grammar: A Closer Look

Voice is an essential part of English grammar that helps determine the relationship between the subject and verb in a sentence. There are two types of voice that you need to know: Active voice and Passive voice. In active voice, the subject performs the action, while in passive voice, the subject receives the action.

For instance, take this simple sentence: "The woman throws the ball." Here, the woman is performing the action (throws), making it an example of active voice. In contrast, if we flip it around and say "The ball is thrown by the woman," we have moved into passive voice. Notice how in this version, no one is performing any action; instead, we've shifted our focus onto the object (the ball).

While active voice tends to be more direct and engaging for readers, there are times when using passive voice may be necessary. It can help emphasize or draw attention to certain parts of a sentence that would otherwise get lost in an active construction. However, as a general rule of thumb, sticking with active voice will make your writing stronger and more dynamic.

Why Active Voice Might Be a Better Choice Than Passive Voice

You may have heard of the terms "active voice" and "passive voice" in English grammar, but what exactly do they mean? In short, active voice is when the subject of the sentence performs the action, while passive voice is when the subject receives the action. Native English speakers learn to use both types of voice, but active voice is generally preferred because it makes sentences sound clear and concise. Passive voice can often make sentences sound weak and indirect, which can be confusing to compare with active voice.

Women Holding Posters and Placards

In some cases, using passive voice can actually save important information. For example, consider this sentence: "The Green Party won the election." If we want to place blame on someone for this result, we could use passive voice: "The election was won by the Green Party." This way, we are not explicitly stating who caused the result. However, in most cases, using active voice is better because it is more clear and direct.

In scientific contexts, researchers often use passive voice in their research conclusions. However, using too much passive voices makes their writing sound dull and impersonal. Instead, researchers should try to use active voice as much as possible to make their writing more engaging. For creative writing like novels or poetry, passive voice can be used for sentence structure variation or emphasis on certain words or phrases. But overall, excessive use of passive voice can make creative writing sound weak or unclear. So if you're writing anything from an academic paper to a short story - consider using active voice!

Where to Practice English Voices

If you want to improve your English speaking skills, practicing active and passive voices is a must. One great way to do this is by using online grammar exercises where you can rewrite sentences in different tenses and voices. Websites such as Perfect English Grammar offer free resources that include portable PDF files that you can copy download and use offline.

California Davis similarly provides a variety of resources for practicing your English voice questions. You can listen to real English conversations, watch podcasts, videos, or music videos and pay careful attention to the voices hearing while taking notes on the differences between active and passive voices. By doing this regularly, you'll start to feel more comfortable with using these voices correctly in your own speech.

Another great way to practice your English speaking skills is by surrounding yourself with native English speakers or immersing yourself in English media. Engage in conversations with people who speak fluent English or watch movies, TV shows, or news broadcasts in English. This will help you become more familiar with the nuances of the language and keep up with new phrases or expressions commonly used by native speakers. With consistent practice, mastering active and passive voices will come naturally!

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Understanding voice is an essential component of mastering English grammar. It's all about understanding who or what is performing the action in a sentence. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced learner, this guide will help you grasp the concept of voice and how to use it correctly in your writing and speaking. So go ahead, enter your email address and take the first step towards improving your English grammar skills today!

Understanding the Power of Voice

The Power of Voice is a concept that can be easily overlooked in general terms of English Grammar. However, understanding the main properties of voice is essential to communicate effectively in English. The basic aim of voice is to identify the subject and the verb action in a sentence.

Active Voice is when the actor (or subject) performs the action, making it more direct and forceful. In Passive Voice, the object of the verb becomes the subject identified in the sentence, usually with an auxiliary verb "to be" followed by a past participle. Passive Voice sentences tend to be longer and less engaging than Active Voice sentences.

When it comes to writing or speaking in English Grammar, using Active Voice is generally recommended over Passive Voice. It adds clarity and impact to your message, making it more persuasive and engaging for your audience. Understanding the difference between these two voices is crucial for anyone who wants to master English grammar and become a confident communicator.

Revitalizing Your Writing: Say It How You Mean It

Are you tired of using the same old ordinary passive voice in your writing? Switch it up and try using the impersonal passive voice to add more variety and interest to your sentences. Instead of simply stating the subject, verb, and grammatical object, use an impersonal pronoun such as "it" or "one" to create a more engaging and dynamic sentence structure.

For example, instead of saying "I read the newspaper," try using the German construction "Man liest die Zeitung" or the French "On lit le journal" to convey a similar meaning in an impersonal sense. This specific impersonal form can make your writing sound more professional and sophisticated, while also allowing you to express yourself with greater nuance and subtlety. So next time you're struggling with finding just the right words, remember to say it how you mean it by using the power of voice in English grammar.

1. Finnic languages[edit]

Finnic languages refer to a group of languages spoken by Finno-Ugric peoples, including Estonian and Finnish. One interesting aspect of these languages is the use of impersonal voice, simply called passive in Finnish (passiivi) and umbisikuline tegumood in Estonian. This grammatical role is marked by the postposition poolt in Estonian and -lla/-llä in Finnish. In contrast to active voice where the subject performs an action, impersonal voice generally implies that the action happens without a clear agent.

For example, in Finnish ikkuna hajotettiin means "the window was broken" in English. Here, the reflexive anticausative verb hajota indicates that the window broke without anyone intentionally breaking it. This use of impersonal voice is foreignism influenced by German and Russian grammar rules. Interestingly, women read more actively voiced sentences than men do, according to research on language use.

2. Celtic languages[edit]

Celtic languages, like many other languages, have an inflection commonly called the passive voice. In Irish, this autonomous form is called "briathar saor," which has a similar origin to the Latin passive-impersonal. This construction suggests passivity, but it can also be used for generalized agency or to avoid mentioning an anonymous agent. The closest direct translation in English includes the use of impersonal endings and prepositional phrases such as "tobacco consumed" or "use-impersonal tobacco." Modern Welsh overtly avoids mentioning an anonymous agent and often uses optional inclusion of a prepositional phrase after the free verb, typically “gan,” meaning “by.”

Discovering the Fundamentals of Passive Voice

In English grammar, there are two types of voice: active and passive. In an active voice sentence, the subject performs the action directly. However, in passive voice sentences, the subject is portrayed indirectly as having the action performed upon it in a twisted manner. To form a passive voice sentence, we use an auxiliary verb and the past participle form of the main verb.

The structure of a passive voice sentence is different from that of an active voice sentence. The grammatical subject of a passive voice sentence is no longer performing the action but has become the object of it. A prepositional phrase with "by" often indicates who or what is doing the action in a passive sentence. For example, "The Texas police were called by me." Here, "the Texas police" is no longer performing an action; instead, they are being acted upon.

Passive voice can be used to emphasize certain aspects of a sentence or to avoid assigning blame or responsibility directly. However, it can also make sentences more wordy and difficult to read if used excessively. When writing or speaking, consider whether using passive voice makes sense for your message and if any subjects tag along with their corresponding prepositional phrases to longer remain on your grammatical subject's focus or not. Understanding passive voice fundamentals will help you use this type of structure effectively in your communication.

All You Need to Know About Implied Subjects in Active Voice

When we hear the term "active voice sentences," we often assume that the subject of the sentence is named. However, this is not always the case. In fact, many active voice sentences have an implied subject, which means you're left to infer who or what is performing the action. For example, take Virgin America Airlines' once-boring airplane safety video that was revamped with a catchy song and lots of fun graphics. The video starts with "Place your electronic devices including those with an electrical current into airplane mode or turn them off." The subject of this sentence isn't named, but it's clear from context that the speaker is referring to passengers on the plane.

It's easy to assume that every active voice sentence has a clearly stated subject, but this simply isn't true. In some cases, the speaker doesn't explicitly say who or what is performing the action. Instead, they rely on context clues for readers to infer what's happening in the sentence. For instance, consider a sentence like "The metal end of the cable should be inserted into your device." While there's no named subject here, it's clear from context that the speaker is talking about someone inserting a cable into an electronic device.

Implied subjects are an important part of English grammar because they allow us to create more concise and efficient sentences without sacrificing meaning or clarity. By relying on context clues to fill in missing information about who or what is performing an action, we can communicate effectively without always having to name every element in a sentence. So next time you come across a sentence with an implied subject, don't be thrown off - just look for clues in the surrounding text and keep reading!

Revitalize Your Writing: Discover the Power of Active Voice

Have you ever heard of the term "active voice"? In English grammar, active voice is when the subject identified in a sentence is directly performing the verb action. Active voice sentences are more engaging and easier to read than passive voice sentences. For example, "Cats eat fish" is an active voice sentence because the subject (cats) acts on the verb action (eat).

Using active voice can transform your writing from dull to dynamic. Instead of saying "The teacher drew a picture," use "The teacher brought the principal's chair to life with her drawing." By using active voice, you make it clear who is performing the action and add more detail to your writing.

To demonstrate active voice, try changing passive sentences into active ones. For instance, instead of saying "The father collected seashells," say "The father combed the beach for seashells." Notice how in this example, we made it clear who was doing the collecting by using an action verb (combed). By incorporating active voice into your writing, you can breathe life into your words and captivate your readers.

Discover a Variety of Unique Voices

English grammar has many different voices that you can use to express yourself. These voices can change the way your sentence is structured and the meaning behind it. Some of the voices found in English include active voice, passive voice, reflexive voice, and more.

But did you know that other languages include even more unique voices? Some examples include adjutative voice, antipassive voice, applicative voice, causative voice, circumstantial voice, impersonal passive voice, mediopassive voice, and neuter voice. Each of these voices changes the subject or object perform the verbal action in different ways.

By mastering these different voices in English and exploring the variety available in other languages, you can add depth and nuance to your writing or speaking. Whether it's using the reciprocal voice to show an action being performed by two subjects on each other or employing the circumstantial voice to highlight the context surrounding an event, understanding these various voices can help you communicate more effectively.

Discovering the Narrative of English Voices in the Past

Understanding voice in English grammar can help you uncover the narrative of different voices in the past. An active voice sentence uses an action verb to indicate that the subject is performing the action. For example, "the woman throws" is an active voice sentence in past tense form. On the other hand, a passive voice sentence uses a helping verb and a past participle to show that the subject is being acted upon, such as "the woman was thrown."

Yellow Tassel

One useful tool for mastering conjugations is Reverso Conjugation. All you need to do is type an English verb into the search bar and click on the conjugate button. This will show you all possible conjugations of that verb, including both active and passive voice sentences in past tense. A common mistake people make with passive voice is using it too much, especially when describing actions between two people who haven't met before, like a blind date or arranged date. Instead of saying "they were introduced," try using active voice and say "he introduced her."

When using word vouching, it's important to use past participles correctly. The verb vouch requires a past participle, such as "vouched for" or "has vouched." Using active voice with past participles can help your writing sound more natural sooner than relying on passive voice sentences. Keep these tips in mind next time you're writing or speaking in English!

Which Voice Should You Use: Active or Passive?

When it comes to writing, voice is an important point to consider. The active voice makes sentences clear and concise while the passive voice can be confusing. In the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the verb action, whereas in the passive voice, the subject receives the verb action. To create an active voice sentence, use a distinct verb that directly communicates the message you want to convey. By using direct words, you leave no room for ambiguity.

In many cases, passive voice forming can be useful; however, it should not be overused. Active voice reduces confusion and helps readers easily identify the main subject of your sentence. For example, in a crime report, using active voice will make it easier for investigators to understand what happened and who was responsible. Conversely, in scientific explanations where additional terms are used like prepositional phrases and auxiliary verbs, passive voice may be preferable.

When deciding which type of voice to use in your writing, simply identify who or what is performing the action in your sentence. If it is clear who is doing something or causing an effect, then choose active voice. On the other hand, if you want to emphasize the receiver of an action or if you do not know who performed an action (such as in a news report), then passive voice may be appropriate. Remember that verb tense can also impact whether you choose active or passive voice – but overall, always aim for clarity and directness in your writing!

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If you're interested in learning more about voice in English grammar, there are plenty of resources available to help you. One great place to start is by practicing with articles exercises, which can help you understand the different ways that voice can be used in written and spoken English. You can also find plenty of plural noun examples online or in grammar textbooks, which will help you see how voice affects the way that nouns are used in sentences.

Another useful resource for learning about voice is to read articles and blogs written by English language experts. Many of these writers offer tips and advice on how to improve your understanding and use of voice in your own writing. By reading these articles regularly, you can stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in English grammar, so that you can become a more confident and effective communicator. So if you're serious about mastering the art of voice in English grammar, don't hesitate to explore all of the resources available to you!

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"voice", "active", "passive", "subject", "object", "sentence structure"

Voice is an important aspect of English grammar that affects the way we construct our sentences. There are two main types of voice: active and passive. In active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action, while in passive voice, the subject receives the action. For example, “The dog chased the cat” is in active voice, with “dog” as the subject and “chased” as the verb, while “The cat was chased by the dog” is in passive voice, with “cat” as the object and “was chased” as the verb.

It is important to understand how to use both active and passive voice in order to vary your sentence structure and convey different meanings. Active voice tends to be more direct and concise, while passive voice can be useful for focusing on a particular object or when you want to emphasize a certain point. By mastering both types of voice, you can become a more effective communicator in written and spoken English.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the reasons to care about grammatical voice?

Grammatical voice is important because it determines the relationship between the subject and verb in a sentence, impacting clarity and meaning. Understanding active vs. passive voice can help you communicate more effectively and convey your message with greater precision.

What are the sentences in active voice?

Sentences in active voice are those where the subject is performing the action, rather than receiving it. They are often more direct, concise and engaging than sentences in passive voice.

What is the voice of a verb?

The voice of a verb indicates whether the subject of the sentence is performing the action (active voice) or receiving the action (passive voice). It can affect the tone and clarity of your writing, so it's important to choose the right voice for your message.

What is the passive voice in English grammar?

The passive voice is a grammatical structure in which the object of the action becomes the subject of the sentence. It is often used to focus on the action rather than the doer and can be recognized by forms of "to be" and a past participle verb.

Jason Noble

Jason Noble

Writer at English Quest

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Jason Noble is a seasoned blogger who has been writing about technology and gadgets for over a decade. He is passionate about exploring new and innovative products, and enjoys sharing his insights with readers. In addition to his blog, Jason has also contributed articles to several tech publications.

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