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5 Reasons to Use Active Voice in Writing

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Active voice helps you create more dynamic, engaging content, which is especially important for readers.


Have you ever read something and got lost in its wordiness? When you’re unsure what’s happening, exactly? Wordy, lengthy sentences can get confusing fast. The likely culprit: the passive voice.

There’s a reason we’re taught to use the active voice in writing. Focusing on the action, and using action verbs, helps us tell stories more effectively. While the passive voice isn’t always a no-no, writing online content really requires action-focused, concise language. And the active voice will get you there quicker.

Here’s what you need to know about active versus passive voice and five reasons why active voice wins.

Active voice vs. passive voice

Voice is a key property of English verbs. The active voice is when the subject of your sentence performs the action. For example, “The writer wrote the sentence” is an active voice construction.

On the other hand, the passive voice is when something is being done to the subject. For instance, “The sentence is being written by the writer.” The subject—the writer—isn’t performing the verb’s action but is being acted on by the verb.

One easy way to tell if something is active or passive is to look for a form of “to be.” In the example above, “being” is present. You’ll notice there isn’t a form of “to be” in the active sentence. It’s helpful to look at a couple of additional examples that are even more straightforward.

Active voice: Writers write articles.

Passive voice: Articles are written by writers.

Usually, writing in the active voice is more clear, strong, straightforward, and concise. That’s why online writing needs to be in the active voice.

Passive voice is helpful in certain scenarios, like when you want to put a reader’s focus in different places or create more creative, longer narratives. But active voice should be your go-to. This is especially important when targeting online readers who just don’t have time to mess around with wordier language.

5 reasons active voice in writing wins

So, even though passive voice can be used now and then, let’s walk through why active voice usually wins out when you’re writing. Here are five things to remember when you’re writing for an online audience.

1. It’s more direct

Active voice helps you get your point across faster and more efficiently. It signals directness and strength instead of passivity. You can use fewer words to get your point across, which is always appreciated by online readers.

2. Passive sentences are confusing

One of your top priorities for online writing should be clarity. You don’t want your messages to be perplexing. Active sentences help you avoid reader confusion since passive sentences can be unnecessarily wordy.

3. Active verbs are more descriptive

An active verb—like ran, wrote, talked, pushed, chased, or stole—is more descriptive than using “be” verbs. Active verbs help you get more creative, and you do it using fewer words.

4. Emphasize the action

Action or active verbs are more descriptive, but they help you emphasize the action of your sentence. They put the focus on what something or someone is doing. This helps create sentences that are action-focused, and readers will be more engaged. Active voice puts readers right in the moment with you.

5. Passive verbs can be robotic

The active voice creates more exciting prose. Get rid of those extra words with an active verb. For instance, compare these two sentences:

Passive voice: The stroller was being pushed by her aunt.

Active voice: Her aunt pushed the stroller.

It’s pretty clear which sentence takes less thought to understand.

6. Signal passion

With more descriptive and active verbs, you’ll create stronger prose that shows what you’re really passionate about. You can change up sentence length, which creates dynamic content. And, you can connect with other people in more meaningful ways with more direct language.

Get better content with ContentBacon

Now you know why the active voice is your best bet for more engaging, exciting content. But what if you don’t have the time to focus on content writing? We’ve got you covered at ContentBacon. Our team of expert writers, editors, and marketers is ready to whip your content into shape, customizing our services to meet your goals. We know all the tips and tricks to create better content, including using the active voice in writing.

Reach out to our team today to get started with a better inbound marketing strategy.

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