One of my red flags to watch for when I edit is passive voice. And I usually find a lot of them (they can be identified by words such as ‘was’ and ‘by’). Writing with a passive voice always seems to be how my drafts evolve. Then during my edits I need to find them and rewrite to be active – but sometimes I struggle with this.
Why change from passive to active? Active is a much more powerful way to write. In a passive construct the subject is the main ‘character’ but something else performs the action. In active construction the subject performs the action of the verb.
An example of a passive sentence:
- Mouse was eaten by Cat.
To rewrite as an active sentence:
- Cat ate Mouse.
To rewrite from passive to active:
- the subject of the passive sentence needs to become the object of the active sentence
- the object of the passive sentence (which may not be identified in the sentence) becomes the subject of the active sentence
My vase (subject) was broken by Ann (object).
Ann (subject) broke my vase (object).
Do you struggle with active voice? Would love any hints and tips 🙂