How to Change Active Sentences To Passive Sentences

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While changing a sentence from passive to active is usually recommended for writing educational papers or documents for business, writing in the passive voice is sometimes necessary as well. Passive voice is used in science writing and in fiction writing at times. Passive voice can complement mystery novels very well, because it can leave questions as to who performed an action. By changing a sentence from active to passive, the tone will not sound quite as direct and might seem more vague. While this is not incorrect, a passive sentence will not sound as strong or direct as its active counterpart.

  • Determine whether the subject in the sentence is performing the action in the sentence. If so, the sentence is most likely in active voice. To change the sentence from active to passive, leave out the subject who is performing the action. This will automatically make the sentence passive. For example, "Our mother served breakfast" is active. "Breakfast was served" is passive.

  • Avoid making a statement that leads to a direct fact or belief. For a truly passive tone, a sentence should not read, "It will be hot today." A passive sentence would read something like, "It is believed that today will be a hot day." Passive voice makes more of a suggestion rather than a direct conclusion about a subject.

  • Place the object that is on the receiving end of the action in a sentence toward the beginning of the sentence. It is optional to include the subject that is performing the action in passive sentences. An example of an active sentence would be, "Laura watered the flowers." Changing this sentence to a passive form would be, "The flowers were watered (by Laura)."

  • Change the verb in the sentence to a passive form. Not only will the subject that is receiving the action move to the beginning of the sentence, but the verb will become more passive in tone. For example, "Many tourists have seen the Eiffel Tower" is active. "The Eiffel Tower has been seen by many tourists" will make the sentence passive.

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