Quiz Yourself on Passive Voice

Professional criminal justice reports avoid passive voice because it does not answer an important question: Who performed the action?

If you’re testifying in court, trying to remember what happened six months ago, a passive-voice sentence in your report can be confusing:

A blood-stained t-shirt was found under a rosebush in the back yard. PASSIVE VOICE

Who found the t-shirt?

Here’s an active-voice version of this sentence that clearly states the facts:

I found a blood-stained t-shirt under a rosebush in the back yard. ACTIVE VOICE

(To learn how to identify passive voice, click here.)

Here’s a short quiz to see if you can identify passive-voice sentences. The answers are stated below.

  1. The roof was replaced two years ago.
  2. John and Mike replaced the roof.
  3. We were wondering if you’d like to spend a weekend at our beach house.
  4. The key can be found under a rock to the left of the front door.
  5. Taxis will be waiting at the bus station.
  6. Louis is interested in a career in the medical field.
  7. Registered nurses are being paid top salaries right now.
  8. Nurses are eagerly sought by hospitals everywhere.
  9. Louis was working in a low-paying service job.
  10. He was told there’s not much of a future for him there.

Here are the answers:

  1. The roof was replaced two years ago.  PASSIVE  [Who replaced it?]
  2. John and Mike replaced the roof.  ACTIVE
  3. We were wondering if you’d like to spend a weekend at our beach house.  ACTIVE
  4. The key can be found under a rock to the left of the front door.  PASSIVE  [Who will find it?]
  5. Taxis will be waiting at the bus station.  ACTIVE
  6. Louis is interested in a career in the medical field.  ACTIVE
  7. Registered nurses are being paid top salaries right now.  PASSIVE  [Who pays them?]
  8. Nurses are eagerly sought by hospitals everywhere.  PASSIVE  [Who seeks them?]
  9. Louis was working in a low-paying service job.  ACTIVE
  10. He was told there’s not much of a future for him there.  PASSIVE  [Who told him this?]

And here are active-voice rewrites of the passive-voice sentences:

1.  The landlord replaced the roof two years ago.

4.  You can find the key under a rock to the left of the front door.

7.  Hospitals are paying registered nurses top salaries right now.

8.  Hospitals everywhere are eagerly seeking nurses.

10.  His supervisor told him there’s not much of a future for him there.

 

 

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