In this lesson, we're going to explore a quitedifficult and important piece of grammar: the passive voice.
The good part? We're going to tell you not to use it, or at least not unless you havea very good reason to do so.
The bad part? Many people overuse it in their writingwithout even realizing.
And if *you* do, you're going to haveto learn to recognize a passive sentence and then rewrite it into an active one.
That is the essence of what you're goingto learn in this lesson.
Now in this first video,we're going to tell you what the passive voice isand what a passive sentence looks like.
If you ended up in this trial lessonfrom our passive voice article on yoast.
Com and think you've already got a good graspof what passive voice means, you may consider skipping this videoand moving on to the second video.
In that video, we'll teach you how to actually rewritepassive sentences into active ones.
For this lesson, you'll need to knowsome basic grammar: what is a subject, what is a verb,and what is an object.
If you don't know this yet, check out the basic grammar PDFwe've provided in the text.
If you're not sure what passive voice is,pay close attention.
The passive voice can be really tough.
Now let's start with this: any sentence in the English languagecan be one of two things: active or passive.
And it's easier to explainwhat a passive sentence is, by showing what an active sentence is first.
Because most sentences are active.
In active sentences, the person, animalor thing that does something, is also the subject of the sentence.
Say: Michiel is building the Mack Anthem.
Michiel is the persondoing something (building), and Michiel is also the subjectof the sentence.
The Mack Anthem is the object.
In passive sentences, the subject of thesentence is the person, animal or thing "undergoing" the action.
Say: The Mack Anthemis being built by Michiel.
Michiel is still the personwho performs an action, but the Mack Anthem is now the subject, and Michiel has becomethe object of the sentence.
The meaning hasn't changed, but the voicehas changed from active to passive.
There are three thingsthat change in the sentence: the word order is different (Michiel andThe Mack Anthem switch places), the verb changes ("is building"becomes "is being built"), and the word "by" is added to show thatMichiel is still the one doing the building.
As you can see, the active sentence andthe passive sentence mean the same thing, but the perspective is a little different.
Also, the passive sentence is a bit longer.
Sometimes, you can alsoleave out the actor.
The Mack Anthem is being built,for example, is a perfectly acceptable sentence.
It just doesn't tell youthat Michiel did the building.
By the way, one of the few casesin which it's actually OK to use passive voice is when you don't know who did something,or when it's irrelevant who or what did it.
Like when you ask:"what is grown in these fields?".
You really just want to knowwhether it's potatoes or corn.
You don't particularly careabout the farmers that grow the crop.
And "what do farmers growin these fields?" feels like a pretty weird question to ask,anyway, doesn't it? Or maybe you don't want to shareinformation on the actor.
Imagine a police interview, for example,in which the policewoman says: you were seen near the scene of the crimejust fifteen minutes before.
She intentionally leaves out the personwho did the seeing, to protect him.
But really, those are rare examples.
In a large majority of the cases, usingpassive voice is completely unnecessary.
Which means you should avoid it.
Why? Because using the passive voice almostalways makes your writing more distant and your message less clear.
There are two main reasons for this.
First of all, the passive voice is wordy.
Passive sentences are simply longer.
Consider these two sentences: "The passive voice almost alwaysmakes your message less clear.
" That's an active sentence.
In passive voice that would be: "Your message is almost always madeless clear by using the passive voice.
" You say the same thing by using the passive,but you add three words.
This can really add upif you use it too often.
Secondly, passive sentencestake longer to understand.
Getting your message across with passivesentences is much more difficult.
Why? Because your reader needs to spend moreenergy on making sense of the sentence.
They're simply more difficult.
That's because you only learn who wasresponsible for a certain action all the way at the end of the sentence.
Forming a mental imageof what is going on takes a tiny moment longerwith passive sentences.
These moments can easily add upif you overuse the passive voice.
Whenever you use passive voice, always consider whether a better,active alternative is available.
Now that you knowwhat the passive voice is and why you should avoid itin most cases, you're ready for the next step: rewritingyour passive sentences into active ones.
If you're not a native speaker of Englishor struggle with verb forms, we recommend you to first take a lookat the passive voice cheat sheet PDF.
It shows you a four-step planto rewrite your passive sentences.
We're going to come back to thatin the next video.
But it also shows you what active verbcorresponds with which passive verb, in present, past and future.
It's probably a good idea to study those lastones before you watch the second video, because that will make it a lot easier.
In the next video, we'll show youhow to avoid passive sentences and rewrite passive sentencesinto active ones.