What are they?
- Active Voice: The subject of the sentence performs the action expressed by the verb.
- Passive Voice: An action is performed upon the subject of the sentence.
When to use active voice
- Use active voice in most academic writing (in most essays).
- Use active voice when you want to be clear.
- When you want to be concise.
Using active voice helps provide clarity in writing and cuts back on wordiness, which is particularly important when the sentence is already lengthy.
When to use passive voice
- When you want to put emphasis on the action. This is especially true when writing in the sciences.
- When you want the subject and the focus to be consistent.
- When you are strategically avoiding the subject.
- When you want to create an authoritative tone.