Active and Passive Voices of Verbs -- American English - Page 1

Because you may show that the subject is either the doer or the receiver of the action, the question naturally arises, "Which form is better?" In many sentences, the use if the passive voice often results in a roundabout, awkward method of expression.

In the large majority of cases the active voice is the better form to use. Never use the passive voice, either is speaking or writing, when the active voice would be more natural or more direct. The following illustrations show clearly that the active voice would be more natural and more direct than the passive voice.

The concert was enjoyed by us. (passive voice) (poorer)
We enjoyed the concert. (active voice) (better)

Your order was sent by us by express today (passive voice) (poorer)
We sent your order by express today. (active voice) (better)

The stranger was barked at by a dog. (passive voice) (poorer)
A dog barked at the stranger. (active voice) (better)

As a rule, the active voice is preferred for business writing, and for any other form of writing that requires the direct approach. The use of the active voice increases vividness. The passive voice expresses reversed action, since the receiver comes before the doer. Active verbs are often used in newspaper headlines because they are more vivid and take less space.