2011-04-01

A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 1

Okay, I confess. April just kind of snuck up on me. I meant to do a post yesterday to remind everyone that the challenge was starting but I got sidetracked distracted . . . I just plain forgot!

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.

13 comments:

graceunderpressure said...

It's creepy how you know what my mom's doing! (Judy lol) Good job getting the 10 Commandments in there! Quick! Everyone go look them up in Exodus 20! :D

graceunderpressure said...

It's creepy how you know what my mom's doing! (Judy lol) Good job getting the 10 Commandments in there! Quick! Everyone go look them up in Exodus 20! :D

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I LOVED your example of how weak passive voice is using the Ten Commandments. Brilliant! Great first post to kick off the A-Z Blogpost!

Nofretiri said...

I know, that the weakest of my 5 senses is the auditive one ... and your post gave me another proof for that fact! I've never given much thought about it, but your example with the Ten Commandments gave me something to think over! That's what I like about posts, that there is something remaining after reading! Well done!

Wish you a wonderful weekend & happy writing & a great challenge!

Karin @ Nofretiris Dream Of Writing

Hannah Kincade said...

Great first entry!! I love writing examples. You hear rules but it's much better when you can SHOW what you mean.

K.C. Woolf said...

It's good to be reminded. :-)
I'm looking forward to coming back tomorrow!

V. Furnas said...

How exciting...the A to Z's of good writing. A to Z challenge rocks!

Bish Denham said...

Good stuff here! Have fun with the challenge!

Ellie said...

April did just kind of arrive, didn't it?

I'm looking forward to the rest of your writing advice!

Ellie Garratt

Catherine Lavoie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catherine Lavoie said...

April snuck up on me too! Great post. Looking forward to a month's worth of writing advice! :)

Budd said...

I was going to write a comment in passive voice, but I wrote it in active voice instead.

Michelle Teacress said...

I was not aware of passive vs. active voice until I started attending writers conferences - it's been an interesting discovery. :)

I'm visiting via the A-Z hop. Nice to meet you. I'm stop #881 on the list. :)