J. Callahan Writes: Dec 21, 2017

On Passive Voice


Editors and writers caution us to avoid passive voice. That is often good advice. However, it depends on the context of the sentence and the goals of the author. For example: “The scissors were dropped on top of the body with the tongue half cut off and the binder clip firmly in place.”

The focus is clearly on the scissor, for the killer is a mystery. There is nothing wrong with the passive voice in this case.

In general, use active voice for subjects when the subject’s action is preeminent. If the object is important, don’t be afraid to use the passive voice.



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