Is Being Passive All Bad?

While my head was still working through what verb tense to use when, I encountered the “Voice” section in The Deluxe Transitive Vampire. Then a light bulb went on above my head.

The passive voice is appropriate when the action rather than the actor is to be emphasized.

  • The grandee bullied the bum. (Active)
  • The bum was bullied by the grandee. (Passive)

In this example, the passive voice also leads the readers to side with the bum.

But the author cautioned that we don’t overwork it.

  • The book was thrown at me by them.

In another case, when the actor is unknown or unimportant, passive voice can also be used.

  • She was left alone for a while.
  • The shoes were all repaired came the next morning.

I seem to remember being told to use active voice but it looks like I’ll have to pay more attention about that in the fictions I read.


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