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 Post subject: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Goddess
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Had this pop up on my Facebook feed today, seemed helpful for us:

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“She was killed [by zombies.]” <—- Makes sense? Yes, so it's passive voice.

“Zombies killed [by zombies] her.” <—- Makes sense? No, so it's active voice.


Personally, I've looked for it so much now, I think I see passive voice in my sleep. But this amused me...

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:07 pm 
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What fun! Zombie lovers unite! We have finally found a way to take over the world. Just think passive.

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:07 pm 
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I now know how to identify it properly, but from a logical standpoint, what's the real difference? Is it that passive voice uses "was" to indicate the finality of the event?


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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:56 pm 
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It is probably not a good enough explanation to satisfy an Engish teacher, but in other languages at least, the passive voice is used for an action that could easily happen 'offscreen'. The event occurred, but you may or may not have actually seen it happen. Sort of the equivalent of watching a movie where an event happens, but you either hear about it second hand, or it happens where you do not actually see it.

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:44 pm 
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*using her English teacher voice* Ahem, the passive voice indicates an action that happens to someone (The zombie was forced to shuffle slowly (understood: by his infirmities). Sometimes the sentence will indicate who is doing the action (by his infirmities) and sometimes it is not mentioned (understood: by his infirmities). The active voice indicates that the subject of the sentence is doing the action (The zombie shuffled happily along). It doesn't need anything else to make it complete, since it shows that the zombie was the doer of the activity of shuffling (the verb).

Thus:

Passive voice - The zombie [the subject of the sentence, but not the doer of the action] was forced [the verb - the action was done by someone other than the zombie...in this case it is understood that it was his infirmities, but unless it is stated "by his infirmities," it is not clear. It could have been a drug, a stiff breeze, gravity, etc. Sometimes the preceding or succeeding sentence will make the doer of the action clear] to shuffle [the object - the WHAT of the verb "was forced" - what was he forced to do?] slowly [the adverb - and HOW was this silly old zombie shuffling? Why slowly, of course].

Active voice - The zombie [the subject of the sentence AND the doer of the action] shuffled [the verb - what the zombie did...he shuffled, for goodness sakes] along [adverb - indicates WHERE he shuffled] happily [adverb - indicates HOW he shuffled].

So there you have it, folks. Or you could do what Mallory told Scott in "Family Ties." If the active voice is for active people, then I guess the passive voice is only for dead people lol

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:48 pm 
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So, passive voice is for passive subjects that are acted upon. Active voice is for active subjects that are performing the action themselves. Thanks a lot, you two! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:24 pm 
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I should do this more often, but... When I need to cut words from a story for a particular submission requirement, I will usually start by looking for passive voice. It's usually unnecessarily wordy, sometimes cumbersome, usually involves "be" verbs, and pretty boring. Changing it to active voice, if possible, generally reduces word count and makes more interesting sentences.


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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:56 am 
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Nasorin wrote:
So, passive voice is for passive subjects that are acted upon. Active voice is for active subjects that are performing the action themselves. Thanks a lot, you two! :)

I should hire you to edit my manuscripts, Nas. That was masterful :)



Sulianne wrote:
I should do this more often, but... When I need to cut words from a story for a particular submission requirement, I will usually start by looking for passive voice. It's usually unnecessarily wordy, sometimes cumbersome, usually involves "be" verbs, and pretty boring. Changing it to active voice, if possible, generally reduces word count and makes more interesting sentences.

Good tip, Sulianne!

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:21 pm 
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Thanks, Raya! Paraphrasing is a whole lot easier if you don't have to worry about preserving someone's voice, though.

Sulianne, that's great tip! Up until recently, I wrote almost exclusively in present tense (similar problem, but in my opinion, worse). It's been a horrible chore to relearn how to write effectively in the past tense. That's a lot of why I jumped on tense changes when I was looking at your story! Hopefully keeping active/passive in mind while I write and revise will keep it more lively, like you said.

I'm curious, though. Do you think that passive voice seems less interesting to read because the actions are being performed on someone (so there's nothing you can do about it)?


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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:19 pm 
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I don't know "officially" but I find passive voice to be cumbersome. Like Suli said, it often takes more words to say it that way, which is one of the reasons I can find it in my sleep: I'm always searching for ways to cut down my word count. And like Raya said, the subject being acted upon can also get confusing but the aesthetics are generally what drive me to axe it :P

Microsoft Word will also find it for you using the grammar & spelling tool, too, if you want. At least, my 2007 version does.

Most people, at least in the English language, tend to speak in passive voice, which is why (I'm told) it's easy to slip into when writing.

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:55 am 
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Weird. I never realized people spoke in passive voice. Thanks a lot - now I'm going to be analyzing everyone's speech! :P


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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:57 pm 
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I think by speaking in the passive voice we tend to distance ourselves from the action. This is a trait of people who lack the drive for involvement. I don't mean loners, because often loners are also people of action. I mean people who hang back and don't want to do anything because of <insert implausible reason here>. Maybe we should just go with Mallory in "Family Ties." Impassive voice is for dead people *snicker*

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:36 am 
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Very nifty strategy!! If I have the fortune of teaching writing in any form, I'll definitely use it. Now I want to listen to hear whether people really do speak in passive voice most of the time...I wonder why that would be? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:22 am 
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As Raya said, it may be because we want to distance ourselves from the actions. I think, too, sometimes, that we're creating ambiguity, perhaps due to under-confidence? That is, instead of "owning" the action, we tiptoe around it :P

(And if you're teaching littler kids, you can always use "bunnies" instead of "zombies." Or something.)

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 Post subject: Re: Passive Voice Found [by zombies]
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:22 pm 
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"She was eaten by bunnies..."

Seems terrifying, for some reason.


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