How to Identify Passive Voice with a Passive Voice Finder: The Ultimate Guide

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When Passive Voice is Appropriate

In most instances writing using the passive voice is discouraged as it can create awkward and wordy sentence structure as well as confuse the reader by obscuring the subject. However, this doesn’t mean you must use a passive voice finder, convert the sentence to passive voice and eliminate all sentences that use the passive voice. There are times when it is useful and maybe even necessary to use the passive voice and active to passive translator:

  • When the agent performing the action is unknown. For example in the sentence “My car was stolen” is passive. It is written this way because we don’t know who stole my car.
  • When the action or object is more important than the subject. Example: “The bridge was built in 1987.” It isn’t important who performed the act of building the bridge, just that a bridge was built.
  • When you want to conceal who performed the action. Example: “A mistake was made.” This conceals who made the mistake and will look better to the public in a press release than an active voice version “The CEO made a mistake.”
  • When it is obvious who performed the action. Example: “The burglar was arrested.” It is clear to the reader who performed the arrest. There is no need to use the active voice “The police arrested the burglar.”

The above are special cases when using the passive voice is appropriate. As a general rule the active voice is preferable as it is more concise and easier to understand.

when using a passive voice is suitable

How to Correct Passive Voice Misuse with Passive Voice Identifier

Sentences written in passive voice can often creep into your writing without you being aware of it. Of course correcting passive voice sentences can be done during the editing process. The question for many is how to spot passive voice sentences in their papers. The following are 7 tips for identifying when passive voice is being used:

tips on how to spot passive voice
  • Look for forms of “to be” in a sentence. The words was, is, am, are, have been, has, will be, being and will have been are all forms of “to be”. A form of “to be” followed by a past participle in a sentence indicates passive voice.
  • Look for sentences containing the word “by”. Example: “All the candy was eaten by Joe” is a passive sentence. When you see the action (eaten) followed by the word “by” and the subject performing the action in a sentence it will usually be in passive voice.
  • Examine the order of the words. Every sentence will contain a subject which is the person/thing performing an action and a verb/verb phrase which is the action itself. It may also contain an object which is the person/thing the action is being performed on. The words of a sentence written in active voice will be ordered subject/action or subject/action/object. In passive voice sentences the word order will be object/action or object/action/subject.
  • The subject is unknown. If the person/thing performing the action isn’t identified in the sentence then it is written in passive voice.
  • Take a look at exceptionally long sentences. Not all long sentences are written in passive voice, but there is a fairly good chance it will be. Take a closer look.
  • The subject of the verb is the receiver of the action. Example: “The pedestrian was hit”
  • Zombie test. If you are unsure if a sentence is written in passive voice add “by zombies” to the end of the sentence. If the sentence still makes grammatical sense it is a passive voice sentence. Ex: “The questionnaire was completed and returned”(by zombies). It is a passive sentence

Another option to identify passive voice in papers and other text is to use an online passive voice identifier or active voice passive voice converter.  This is an online writing tool that not only indicates the voice being used but also suggests how to correct passive voice misuse. The benefit of changing passive voice to active voice in your paper is that it will be more concise and easier to understand with change passive voice to active voice tool.

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Convert Passive Voice to Active Voice Using Our Online Passive Voice Finder and Corrector

A change passive voice to active voice converter is a useful online writing tool for both identifying passive voice as well as correcting passive voice misuse. It is simple to use our passive voice corrector online. All you have to do is copy and paste your text into the passive voice misuse finder editor and click the button to begin the process. In a short time the passive voice corrector will provide a report identifying sentences using passive voice, as well as offering suggestions for adjustments you can make to improve your text. The tool acts as an active voice translator enabling you to convert passive voice to active voice quickly and easily. It also works as a passive voice misuse fixer so you can change from either passive or active voice with ease.

Our passive and active voice converter does more than identify the voice being used and suggests corrections. It also functions as spelling, punctuation and dictionary checker as well as examining tone and word usage. This tool works on any type of text including academic papers, essays, articles, blog posts and emails making it perfect as an all-around convert sentence into passive voice tool. The many features offered, the speed and ease of use and the variety of writing types that can be analyzed all contribute to the popularity of active to passive translator with students and writers around the world. 

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To cut hours off the editing process and produce stronger, clearer and more concise papers use our passive voice finder on your next writing assignment!