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Online Quiz (Worksheet A B C D)

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Grade 6 English
2.22 Use Active Voice

When the subject of a sentence does or acts upon the verb in a sentence (or is active), the sentence is said to be in the active voice.

When the subject of a sentence is being "acted upon" (or is passive), such sentences are said to be in the passive voice.

  • The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive:
    Example: I shall always remember my first visit to Boston.

  • This is much better than:
    My first visit to Boston will always be remembered by me.

    The latter sentence is less direct, less bold, and less concise. If the writer tries to make it more concise by omitting “by me,” it becomes indefinite: is it the writer, or some person undisclosed, or the world at large, that will always remember this visit?
    Example: My first visit to Boston will always be remembered.

    This rule does not, of course, mean that the writer should entirely discard the passive voice, which is frequently convenient and sometimes necessary.

    Example: The dramatists of the Restoration are little esteemed today.
    Modern readers have little esteem for the dramatists of the Restoration.

    The first would be the right form in a paragraph on the dramatists of the Restoration; the second, in a paragraph on the tastes of modern readers. The need of making a particular word the subject of the sentence will often, as in these examples, determine which voice is to be used.

  • The habitual use of the active voice, however, makes for forcible writing. This is true not only in narrative principally concerned with action, but in writing of any kind. Many a tame sentence of description or exposition can be made lively and emphatic by substituting a transitive in the active voice for some such perfunctory expression as there is, or could be heard.

    There were a great number of dead leaves lying on the ground. Dead leaves covered the ground.
    The sound of the falls could still be heard. The sound of the falls still reached our ears.
    The reason that he left college was that his health became impaired. Failing health compelled him to leave college.
    It was not long before he was very sorry that he had said what he had. He soon repented his words.

  • As a rule, avoid making one passive depend directly upon another.
    Example: Gold was not allowed to be exported.
    It was forbidden to export gold (The export of gold was prohibited).

    He has been proved to have been seen entering the building.
    It has been proved that he was seen to enter the building.

    In both the examples above, before correction, the word properly related to the second passive is made the subject of the first.

  • A common fault is to use as the subject of a passive construction a noun which expresses the entire action, leaving to the verb no function beyond that of completing the sentence.

    A survey of this region was made in 1900.
    This region was surveyed in 1900.

    Mobilization of the army was rapidly carried out.
    The army was rapidly mobilized.

    Confirmation of these reports cannot be obtained.
    These reports cannot be confirmed.

Directions: Decide if each sentence below is in the active or passive voice. Then change the sentence so that it is active (if passive) or passive (if active). Write your new sentences on a piece of paper.

For example: The boy ate three pieces of pizza. (active)
Three pieces of pizza were eaten by the boy. (passive)

Q 1: I am reminded of Christmas when I watch the snow fall gently to the ground.
Active Voice
Passive Voice

Q 2: The student will present his book report on Monday.
Passive Voice
Active Voice

Q 3: The huge chunks of concrete were removed from the construction site by the foreman.
Passive Voice
Active Voice

Q 4: Action on the legislation is being considered by the lawmakers.
Passive Voice
Active Voice

Q 5: The letter was received by the congressman last Thursday.
Active Voice
Passive Voice

Q 6: The movie scared Sue.
Active Voice
Passive Voice

Q 7: Over half of the students failed their English test.
Passive Voice
Active Voice

Q 8: The newspaper was delivered at 5:00 in the morning.
Passive Voice
Active Voice

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Question 10: This question is available to subscribers only!

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