What Is Voice in Grammar?

What Is Voice?

Voice is the term used to describe whether a verb is active or passive.

In a passive sentence, the verb is said to be in the passive voice. Similarly, the verb in an active sentence is said to be in the active voice.

The voice of a verb tells us whether the subject of the verb is acted upon or is acting.

What Is the Active Voice?

If the subject is performing the action, then the verb is said to be in the active voice. Look at this:

What Is the Passive Voice?

If the subject is having the action done to it, then the verb is said to be in the passive voice. Look at this:

When To Use the Active and Passive Voice

How do you decide when to use the active voice and when to use passive voice? Well, both are grammatically correct. However, the emphasis of the subject and object changes. Below is a list of advantages for both which will help to guide your decision.

Advantages of the active voice:
  • Active sentences are shorter.
  • Active sentences are more direct. (This ensures the subject takes responsibility for the action.)
  • Active sentences are more engaging for the reader.
  • Active sentences are often less confusing and less ambiguous.
  • Active sentences allow you to express an authoritative tone.
Advantages of the passive voice:
  • Passive sentences allow the subject to avoid responsibility for the action.
  • Passive sentences can show a neutral or objective tone.
  • Passive sentences are used when the subject is obvious, unimportant, or unknown.
  • Passive sentences allow you to shift the focus of the subject.
  • (This allows you to highlight what is truly important for your sentence.)

See Also

What are verbs? What is the subject of a sentence? What is the object of a sentence? What is the active voice? What is the passive voice? What is an active sentence? What is a passive sentence?