[found on plainlanguage.gov]
What is active/passive voice?
“To know whether you are writing in the active or passive voice, identify the subject of the sentence and decide whether the subject is doing the action or being acted upon.
- Passive Voice: the subject is the receiver of the action.
The tax return (subject) was completed (action) before the April 15 deadline by Mr. Doe.
- Active Voice: the subject does an action to an object.
Mr. Doe (subject) completed (action) the tax return (object) before the April 15 deadline.
When we write in the passive voice, we add some form of the helping verb “to be” (am, is, are, was, were, being, or been) to an otherwise strong verb that really did not need help.
- Passive: Additional information (subject) can be obtained (action) by employees from our website.
- Active: Employees (subject) can obtain (action) additional information (object) from our website.”