Reader’s Question: Active vs Passive

Hi Joy,
My writing is mostly about our real life experiences so the events are always in the past. I’m wondering if your blog has a post about past tense, active voice? Or if you’ve discovered a site that addresses this issue? If my English & grammar teachers introduced humor, I might have paid more attention! Thanks for creating and sharing a great resource.
Lynn (& Rick)

Thanks for your question and interest, Lynn!

In active voice, regardless of tense, the subject does the action: “John threw the ball.” John is the subject and is doing the action. He threw the ball, the object of the sentence.

In passive voice, the target of the action takes the subject position. Instead of saying, “John threw the ball,” you would say, “The ball was thrown by John.” The ball becomes the subject of the sentence, but it isn’t doing anything.

Hope this helps!

Joy Eckel, Freelance Copy Editor
Email joyeckel@gmail.com for a free sample edit and estimate!
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