“Avoid passive sentences” is writing advice that almost everyone has heard more than once, but unfortunately, they didn’t get a full explanation. Passive is not wrong and never has been, but avoid it when you can.
- As readers of English, we prefer the active voice because it has fewer words, and it contains the natural subject-verb word order, but sometimes there is a particular reason to use passive.
- Both active and passive sentences are important to creating cohesion between sentences so you see a logical connection between thoughts.
- People who preach “Don’t use the passive voice” use it frequently. They just don’t understand it well enough to notice all the occasions where it appears in their writing.
- Instead of railing against the passive voice (such as The evaluations were collected by Pam), those who offer advice should explain to you when it is all right to use it and when you can avoid it.