What is the difference between them? The passive voice emphasizes the person or object receiving the action e. The active voice, in contrast, emphasizes the person or object performing the action e. Because active-voice sentences are clearer, livelier, and often more concise than passive-voice sentences, most style guides advise scientific authors to prefer the active voice in their writing.
Use the active voice Generally, try to use the active voice whenever possible. Passive voice sentences often use more words, can be vague, and can lead to a tangle of prepositional phrases.
In a sentence written in the passive voice the subject receives the action. The candidate believes that Congress must place a ceiling on the budget. It is believed by the candidate that a ceiling must be placed on the budget by Congress.
Researchers earlier showed that high stress can cause heart attacks. It was earlier demonstrated that heart attacks can be caused by high stress. The dog bit the man. The man was bitten by the dog. Converting sentences to active voice Here are some tips and strategies for converting sentences from the passive to the active voice.
Look for a "by" phrase e. If you find one, the sentence may be in the passive voice.
Rewrite the sentence so that the subject buried in the "by" clause is closer to the beginning of the sentence. If the subject of the sentence is somewhat anonymous, see if you can use a general term, such as "researchers," or "the study," or "experts in this field.
To emphasize the action rather than the actor After long debate, the proposal was endorsed by the long-range planning committee. To keep the subject and focus consistent throughout a passage The data processing department recently presented what proved to be a controversial proposal to expand its staff.
After long debate, the proposal was endorsed by. To be tactful by not naming the actor The procedures were somehow misinterpreted. To describe a condition in which the actor is unknown or unimportant Every year, thousands of people are diagnosed as having cancer. To create an authoritative tone Visitors are not allowed after 9:In the 20 th century, passive voice was a dominant characteristic of scientific writing; however, there has been a discernible shift in consensus in recent years.
Most writing guides (such as APA [6 th edition, section ]), root for the active voice for clarity and conciseness. Active versus passive voice in scientific writing The active voice promotes simple, straightforward writing. As such, most scientific journals encourage the use of the active voice over the passive voice .
An author may write a sentence in one of two "voices"—active or passive. The active voice emphasizes the performer (or agent) of the action: Wind disperses plant seeds. When is a good time to use the passive voice in scientific writing? Read the article "The Value of the Passive Voice" to learn more.
Sources. Watson JD, Crick FHC. The rationale for using the passive voice in scientific writing is that it achieves “an objective tone”—for example, by avoiding the first person. To consider scientific writing, let’s break it up into two main types: lab reports and writing about a scientific topic or literature.
Get Grammar Girl's take on active voice versus passive voice. Learn whether passive voice is always wrong, or if it is sometimes preferred to active voice. Communication Studies The #1 Resource for the Communication Field.
Blog. What is the Difference Between Active and Passive Voice? Many authors in the scientific community prefer the use of passive voice and avoid first person writing for this reason.
Active voice is still grammatically correct, but a stylistic preference might exist.