Using passive voice in the research paper can result in low grades. This is one of the reasons it has become one of the most trending topics that are discussed among the students who are assigned the task of research papers.
There is a huge difference between the active and the passive voice that is commonly used in the English language. And the scholars and educators are more inclined towards the use of the active voice over a passive voice in the research articles. If you have already developed a paper in the passive voice, here we have some quick ways to convert it into active voice.
But first, let us understand the difference between the active and the passive voice.
What is Active Voice, and what is passive voice?
To get a better understanding of the active and passive voice, it is better that we compare the two first. One of the ways to recognize the proof is to understand the voice in the sentences developed using active voice and passive voice. Precisely, the placement of the subject with respect to the verb in the sentence decides whether the sentence is in the active voice or the passive voice.
Following are some of the examples of the active and the passive voices:
Active: the minister signed the document. Passive: The document was signed by the minister
Active: Raj gave me this pen. Passive: This pen was given to me by Raj.
Active: Harry changed the flat tire. Passive: The flat tire was changed by harry.
From the above active and passive voice models, it is clearly seen that a part of the attributes of the passive voice incorporates the “to be” verb structure and the use of “by”.
Passive Voice in Academic Writing
Passive writing is said to be inappropriate to be used in academic projects. The use of passive writing adds lucidity and loss of significance to the written content. Moreover, the passive voice makes it unclear to the readers. Passive voice can make your content lose its significance as the sentences are not written clearly.
Consistent use of the passive voice does your work to lose accuracy and develop a good connection of the content with the overall context of the topic and the paper. Additionally, the readers of the content feel as if you have not given genuine intuition to the ideas you have presented to the readers. Therefore, you must learn how to avoid passive voice.
Tips to Avoid Passive Voice
- Distinguish the two primary pieces of the sentence- the subject and the verb before writing a sentence.
- Identify the immediate object of the sentence.
- Make sure that the subject is doing the activity just in case you need to write in an active voice. Here the verb should be the activity verb. It should also be made sure that the subject makes a move and the immediate item needs to be followed up by the verb.
- You need to be cautious about the position of the subject, especially when the strain of the subject changes.
- It is highly recommended that you maintain a strategic distance from the verb “to be” at any point where you have used it, as it is normally connected with the passive voice.
- Spare some time to practice writing in an active voice so that you develop a habit of writing in it.
All these tips will help you develop a research paper that is free from passive voice. However, it is best recommended that you go through your work and check if it still has a passive voice. As a rule, passive voice can be fixed just by having a look at what occurred in the sentence.
How to Avoid Passive Voice in Academic Writing
There are a set of activities and methods that you can use to avoid passive voice in the sentences. Here are a set of steps that you can follow to avoid passive writing.
Step 1: Identify the voice of the sentence
You have to first know whether the voice used in the sentence is active or a passive voice. For this, check if the verb in the sentence is a “to be” verb + a previous participle as past participle verbs usually end with- Ed.
Now see if the verb is an activity verb. Also, if the subject in the front and the items towards the end, it is in the passive voice.
Step 2: Evaluate the sentence against the motivation behind your writing
It is not possible to remove all the sentences in passive voice from your paper. It is fine if some sentences in your work are still in the passive voice. The only thing you need to consider is, the sentence in the passive voice is giving clear meaning to the reader.
Step 3: Convert the passive voice into active voice when it is needed.
You should always transform the passive sentence into the active sentence. This can be simply done by switching the situating of the sentence. Change the item to the subject position that is the collector as far it can be done. Also, shift the entertainer or the practitioner to the front side of the sentence.
Apart from these easy steps, you can also use grammar tools to check and correct the passive voice from the sentence.