Writing

Passive Sentence Junkie

I found a “new to me site,” Paper Rater, on Friday and I finally understand the difference between a passive sentence and an active sentence.

Paper Rater gives free stats on word choice, grammar, and spelling. I really enjoy using this free site. Unfortunately, I discovered that I have a lot more work to do if I want my writing to improve. I need to retrain myself. Thanks to Paper Rater, I discovered that I usually write in a passive voice. Not good!

Active sentence: subject/verb/object
Ex: Passive sentences bore people.

Passive sentence: Object/verb/subject
Ex: People are bored by passive sentences.

Passive words: is/am/are/was/were/being/been

I don’t know if I can eliminate all of them from my WIP, but I certainly need to get rid of most of them. As it stands, I have a passive mess. Bah!

PS I wrote this short boring post in an active voice, proving that I can learn new things! 😉   LOL

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10 thoughts on “Passive Sentence Junkie”

  1. I think all of us have room to improve. However, SOME passive sentences make sense and need to be there for a reason. We are also told we shouldn’t use adverbs. I love adverbs. And they say we shouldn’t use the word “felt” or “feel”. Sometimes we need to say that, but maybe not too many times. I think we need to find a way to balance things out so we don’t use mostly passive sentences, but we don’t so many active sentences that the writing sounds choppy or unfeeling.

    I’m guilty of using too many passive sentences, too, and one of my beta readers pointed it out. I changed most of them, but there were a few I felt needed to be there to convey the feeling. Does that make sense?

    I really need to go to Paper Rater and see where I can improve!

  2. I’m too scared to check my stuff! LOL.

    As long as you’re aware of your weak points, and you don’t (as I do) go overboard trying to correct them, you’ll do fine. As Lauralynn said, we need balance, and I’m sure you don’t have a mess. 😉

  3. It’s great that you are working to improve, as we all should! Sometimes the passive voice comes from your VOICE as a writer. It’s difficult to hold on to that (which we MUST – that’s what makes us unique) and make sure we are writing engaging, active sentences.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. I’m sorry I really do apologize – I did laugh out loud. Why? Because I just spent 3 hours editing a section of my story. For some of the issues you mention, yes. this is why we have beta readers – to catch the passive the adverbs etc etc.

    I hope you meet your deadline in two days. It doesn’t have to be perfect, yet.
    Yu never answered whether you would be a beta reader for me? it’s a short story.
    carry on editing 😀

  5. As has been mentioned, some passive sentences are necessary, even good, but yeah, I used to use waaay too many – the way i find them is “ing” words – she was singing vs She sang etc. Yeah, the was is there, but I find it easier to look for “ing” rather than the long list of was/is/etc etc. 😉 Laziness knows no bounds 😉

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