What Are Active Voice Verbs?

Two forms of verbs are active voice verbs and passive voice verbs. Active voice verbs are the verbs people use most of the time and make sentences more powerful and efficient. Passive voice verbs are just the opposite and often result in ineffective sentences.

Active Voice

Most sentences have a similar structure by containing a subject, verb and object. Sentences containing active voice verbs have a structure where the object of the sentence receives the action of the verb in the sentence. For example, in the sentence "Dogs love people," the object is the word "people" and the verb is the word "love." The object receives the verb and, therefore, this sentence is in active voice because the people receive the love.

Passive Voice

The opposite of active voice is passive voice. Sentences with this structure also have a subject, verb and object; however, the subject receives the verb's action instead of the object receiving it. For example, in the sentence "The mailman was bitten by the dog," the mailman is the object receiving the action of the verb. The dog performed the action, but the mailman received it.

Improving Sentences

Sentences almost always sound better and are more effective when they contain active voice. Active voice gives sentence force and vigor. In most sentences that contain passive voice, you can change the words around to make the sentence reflect active voice. For example, the sentence "Pizza is eaten by everyone" demonstrates passive voice. To change this to active voice, change the object in the passive sentence to become the subject in the active sentence. The sentence then reads "Everyone eats pizza."

Identifying Sentence Types

To determine whether a sentence is written in active voice or passive voice, find the subject and the verb. If the subject performs the action of the verb, then the sentence is in active voice. Some sentences are neither in active voice or passive voice. This happens when the verb is a linking verb: verbs that do not describe an action. Some linking verbs include "is," "was" and "could be." For example, the sentence "The car is red" is neither active or passive. The verb "is" serves as an equal sign between the subject and the object.

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