3 uses of passive voice

3 uses of Passive voice for Effective Writing

Passive voice can be a tricky concept to master in writing, but it’s an important tool to have in your arsenal. You might feel confused when it comes to using it voice in English conversation.

Understanding the difference between active and passive voice.

Before diving into the art of using passive voice effectively, it’s important to understand the difference between active and passive voice. In active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action, while in passive voice, the subject receives the action. For example, “The dog chased the cat” is in active voice, while “The cat was chased by the dog” is in passive voice.

While active voice is generally preferred for its clarity and directness, passive voice can be useful in certain situations, such as when the focus should be on the object of the action rather than the subject performing it.


The following explanation will help you understand the three primary uses of passive voice in English. I have also created numerous examples to explain each usage so that you can easily remember these concepts.


USE 1: When you want to stress or emphasize the action instead of a doer.

Just observe the following examples:

  • You made a mistake while preparing this report.
  • You have not called the client yet.
  • Your team didn’t deliver the shipment yesterday.
  • You did not fix this problem yesterday.
  • Suresh did not answer this email last week.

Imagine, you use the above three statements while communicating with your subordinates. They hate you when you blame them for a mistake they made because no one can complete a job without making mistakes.

Moreover, you also feel disappointed or depressed when someone blames you for an error or mistake you did.

You don’t want to hurt people by blaming them. To overcome this problem, you can use passive voice.

By using passive voice, you can talk about the problem or mistake without hurting anyone. Here are the above examples in the passive voice:

  • A mistake has been/was made while preparing this report.
  • The client has not been called yet.
  • This shipment was not delivered yesterday.
  • This problem was not fixed yesterday.
  • This email was not answered last week.


USE 2: When the object is more important than the subject

Just observe the following examples:

  • The government introduced the law last year.
  • The refuse collector removed the garbage last week.
  • Our managing director suggested this policy.
  • The government fired the top brass of the company.
  • The technician repaired the air conditioner yesterday.

In the above examples, action is more important than the doer. No one wants to know who performed the act. But, everyone wants to know about the act itself. Here, we need to emphasize the act or action instead of the doer. Hence, we can use the passive voice here:

  • The law was introduced last year.
  • The garbage was removed last week.
  • This policy was suggested by our managing director.
  • The top brass of the company was fired by Government.
  • The air conditioner was repaired yesterday.


USE 3: When the subject is not known

Sometimes, you do not about the subject or doer. You cannot even mention the doer if the subject or doer is not known. Here are a couple of examples where the doer is not known and the use of passive voice is considered appropriate.

Just observe the following examples:

  • His mobile has been stolen.
  • This empty building was attacked yesterday.
  • The secret donations are made every month.
  • The car was parked there in the morning.
  • The paper was leaked last week.

Avoiding overuse of passive voice

While passive voice can be a useful tool in your writing, it’s important to avoid overusing it. Too much passive voice can make your writing sound dull and lifeless, and can even make it difficult for readers to understand what you’re trying to say.

To avoid this, try to use active voice whenever possible, and reserve passive voice for situations where it’s truly necessary to emphasize the object of the sentence. 


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