There’s over a thousand participants to this challenge – that’s so amazing! I think the greatest challenge will be to read each of these blogs at least once during the month.
When I first signed up for this challenge I thought “no big deal, I’ll just randomly find a word for each day and do a short post about that”. But this is a writing blog, so I decided to structure each of my posts, whenever possible, around the craft of writing. So, without further fanfare, I give you today’s post.
A is for Active Voice
Active voice is the voice of power, action, and drive. It is the voice God speaks in. God didn't say, "Thy neighbour’s wife shall not be coveted by you." He said, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife." If God wrote the Ten Commandments in the passive voice, they would sound more like the Ten Suggestions. When He writes in an active voice, you know He means business.
Active voice is usually clear, emphatic, and flowing. It is also direct. Readers prefer the active voice (whether they are aware of it or not), because it decreases the amount of mental work required for understanding the text. People naturally have a more positive reaction to active voice than they do to passive voice.
The most basic active-voice construction is: subject – verb – direct object. The subject “acts” on a direct object. A verb is in the active voice when it expresses an action the subject performs.
I caught the fish.
You are making too much noise.
Judy plans to make tacos and watch DVDs tomorrow night
In each of these sentences, the subject (I, You and Judy) performs the action of the verb (caught, making, watch DVDs). The sentences are punchy, direct and make it clear who’s doing what.
Writing in the active voice rather than the passive voice gives your writing more life and more clarity. Use the active voice unless doing so makes a sentence awkward. Your writing will stand out, and your readers will perceive you as more energetic than if you had used passive voice. No matter what field you are in, active voice will improve your credibility because you are talking to the reader instead of at the reader.