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Active vs. Passive Voice: Bring Your Writing to Life... with Zombies!

Hi, Swooners!

I’m here to give you a quick refresher on a super-fun grammar topic—active and passive voice. No, don’t stop reading yet! I promise that this really is a fun grammar post. (Yes, grammar can be fun!)

Here’s a recap on what active and passive voice is:

Active voice: the subject performs the action. (The girl washed the puppy.)

Passive voice: the noun or phrase that would be the object in an active sentence appears as the subject. (The puppy was washed by the girl.)

Here’s a fun tip to determine whether your sentence is passive or not: If you can add “by zombies” after the verb (making zombies the subject—or the doer of the action—of the sentence), then your sentence is passive.

Here are a few examples:

The cakes were being baked by zombies.

The play was attended by zombies.

The complicated relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was discussed by zombies.

In the above examples, the zombies are the ones doing the action in the sentence. They’re baking, going to plays, and discussing classic literature. (Note that these are very cultured, fancy zombies.)

So the next time you’re not sure if your sentence is passive or not, try seeing if the zombies could be the ones doing the action in the sentence. Also, if you see any zombies discussing Pride and Prejudice, let them know that I have very strong feelings about Colin Firth’s performance in the BBC miniseries.

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Hayley J.

Full-time book nerd, ice cream enthusiast, serial comma advocate, and coffee addict who’s trying her absolute hardest to win the ...

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