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Old 02-19-2020, 04:24 PM
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Default How to Teach Active and Passive Voice

Passive voice is used in writing when you want to emphasize the object of a sentence, while active voice is used when you want to emphasize the subject of a sentence. Knowing the difference between these 2 voices is vital for students and writers to understand. To teach active and passive voice, make sure to identify the subject and verb in a sentence, explain the difference between active and passive voice, and rearrange sentences from passive to active using the same verb tense.


[Edit]Explaining the Active Voice
  1. Identify the subject and the verb in a sentence. In order for a sentence to be a sentence, it has to have a subject and a verb. The difference between active and passive voice is dependent on the order that these parts go in. Write out a sentence and underline both the subject and the verb so that they are easily identifiable.[1]
    • For example, “She threw the ball for her dog.” “She” is the subject and “threw” is the verb.
  2. Explain that the active voice is when the subject comes before the verb. In order to use active voice, your students need to understand that the subject must come before the verb in a sentence. Make sure that they understand that the subject must be doing the verb in a sentence for it to be active.[2]
    • In the sentence “She threw the ball for her dog,” “She,” the subject, comes before “threw,” the verb.
  3. Emphasize the importance of active voice. In writing, active voice is the preferred voice since it engages the reader and flows well. Tell your students that whenever possible, they should be using active voice.[3]
    • Passive voice is okay sometimes, but it should be used sparingly and in the right context.
[Edit]Identifying the Passive Voice
  1. Explain that the passive voice is when the verb acts upon the object. The passive voice is defined as a sentence that does not have an active action happening within it. You can identify the passive voice by finding sentences where the verb does something to the subject or the object of the sentence.[4]
    • For example, “The fish was caught by the seagull” uses the passive voice. “The fish” is the object of the sentence, and “was caught” is the verb.
  2. Use the passive voice when you don’t know the subject of the sentence. The passive voice is okay to use sometimes, like in instances where the subject of a sentence is unclear or unknown. Tell your students to use the passive voice sparingly to add suspense to their writing.[5]
    • For example, the sentence “The documents were stolen” uses the passive voice because you don’t know who stole the documents.
  3. Look for forms of “to be” to identify the passive voice. Most often, passive voice sentences have some form of the phrase “to be” in them. Watch out for phrases like “has been,” “have been,” “is,” “are,” and “were” as a clue for the passive voice.[6]
[Edit]Changing Sentences from Passive to Active
  1. Identify the verb in the passive sentence. The best way to start rearranging a passive sentence is to start with the verb. Look for action words that describe what someone or something is doing in the sentence.[7]
    • For example, in the sentence “The cat is scared by the dog,” “scared” is the verb.
    • In the sentence “The machines are used to mix ingredients,” “used” is the verb.
  2. Ask your students who or what is doing the verb to find the subject. You may need to add in new information to find out who or what the subject is. Identify the subject of your passive sentence to begin your new active sentence.[8]
    • For example, in the sentence “The cat is scared by the dog,” “the dog” is the subject.
    • In the sentence “The machines are used to mix ingredients,” you don’t know who or what the subject is because it is not included. Use context clues to come up with the subject. In this example, “The chefs” or “The bakers” are 2 potential subjects.
  3. Keep the tense of the verb the same. When switching from passive voice to active voice, it is important to keep the integrity of the sentence. Make sure that you identify if the sentence is written in the past, present, or future tense and keep it the same as you transfer it over.[9]
    • For example, in “The cat is scared by the dog,” “is scared” is present tense.
    • In “The machines are used to mix ingredients,” “are used” is present tense.
  4. Put the subject before the verb in your sentence to make it active. The final step to completing a passive to active transition is to make sure your subject is before the verb. Rearrange the order of the words in the sentence so that it becomes active.[10]
    • For example, “The cat is scared by the dog” becomes “The dog scares the cat.”
    • ”The machines are used to mix ingredients” becomes “The chefs use machines to mix ingredients.”
[Edit]Doing Activities to Teach Younger Students
  1. Complete an action and ask your students to describe what you did. Stand at the front of the classroom and do a simple action, like dropping your pen on the floor. Ask your students to use their words to describe what you did. When someone says “You dropped your pen on the floor,” write that sentence down on the board as an example of the active voice.[11]
    • If you are teaching high school or college students, this activity may be too juvenile for them. Stick with changing sentences from passive to active voice.
  2. Do an action and write it with the passive voice. You can either repeat the active action or choose a new one. Tell your students that this time you’ll tell them what happened. Drop your pen on the floor and then write “The pen was dropped on the floor.” Point this out as an example of the passive voice.[12]
    • If your students are understanding the passive voice so far, they may be able to figure out the passive form of your action on their own.
  3. Drop a few objects to teach the importance of changing the verb. It can be hard for students to remember to change the verb from singular to plural in a passive voice sentence. Drop 2 or more pens at the front of the classroom and ask your students to describe your action using the passive voice.[13]
    • Your students should write “The pens were dropped on the floor.” Point out the importance of “were” versus “was.”
  4. Discuss things that the government does using passive voice. Ask your students to think about the kinds of things that the government does for the community. Tell them to create sentences describing what the government does without using “the government” in their sentences. This will force their sentences to become passive.[14]
    • For example, your students could say, “The roads were fixed.” “Hospitals were built.” “The park benches were painted.”
  • You can start teaching the difference between active and passive voice to children between the ages of 9 and 11.
  1. ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOhU...=youtu.be&t=36
  2. ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOhU...=youtu.be&t=49
  3. ? https://www.brighthubeducation.com/h...-voice-lesson/
  4. ? https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-a...passive-voice/
  5. ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0Zb...=youtu.be&t=47
  6. ? https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-a...passive-voice/
  7. ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1_I...youtu.be&t=156
  8. ? https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-a...passive-voice/
  9. ? https://busyteacher.org/19104-how-to...ple-steps.html
  10. ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0Zb...=youtu.be&t=16
  11. ? https://busyteacher.org/4108-how-to-...ng-active.html
  12. ? https://busyteacher.org/4108-how-to-...ng-active.html
  13. ? https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/teacher...passive-voice/
  14. ? https://busyteacher.org/4108-how-to-...ng-active.html


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