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Passive > Passive vs. Active Voice


The passive is formed with the verb to be (is/was/have been etc.) and the past participle (seen, painted, washed, etc.):

Monopoly is a game which is played in many countries.
A packet was sent to John by my grandmother.
This photocopier has never been used by this company.

When we say what a person or thing does, we use an active verb:
They have postponed the concert until tomorrow.

When we say what happens to a person or thing – what is done to them – we use a passive verb:
The concert has been postponed until tomorrow.


The passive should only be used if the doer is unknown or unimportant, or if more emphasis is put on the receiver of the action than the doer.

In most writing it is better to use the active voice. It is more direct and less ambiguous.






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