Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

Passive Workshop: Why and wherefore (Session 4)

Why use passive voice?

Sometimes the agent is unknown, obvious, or unimportant. She was killed in the Mars invasion. What killed her? We might not know or care.

Sometimes we care more about the action than the agent. For example, London was evacuated before the invasion. Who evacuated it? Probably the proper authorities, but it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that Londoners got away safely.

Sometimes, as writers, we can use it to vary the sentence structure to put certain words at the end of the sentence and emphasize them. We can emphasize the agent, for example. Earth was invaded by evil Martians. We can put longer expressions at the end of the sentence to make it more readable. She was killed when Mars invaded Earth without warning anyone except London’s mayor.

In other words, sometimes you want to say something with more artfulness than active voice allows.

Next: How to change active to passive.

(Photo: NASA. London at night.)

Tags: passive voice

Recent Posts from This Journal

  • In the zone: What planet am I on?

    You may have heard about “ writing in the zone.” It’s a creative state where the writer or artist becomes one with the work, in the flow, totally…

  • She thought it was only a dime…

    Here’s a bit of my family lore. When my great-grandmother was a young girl, her family fell on hard times, and she had to get a job. They were…

  • A glimpse of unexpected heartbreak

    The disaster of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and other southern states reminds me of an unexpected heartbreak I witnessed in 2018. I was traveling,…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.