Using the Active Voice

Contributor: Elephango Editors. Lesson ID: 10080

Passive evokes thoughts of being lazy and dull. Active sounds much better! That's true with verbs, too. Learn to use the active voice to bring your stories to life!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Have you ever read something lifeless and dull?

Good writers use the active voice to make their writing come alive! Active verbs are strong verbs where the subject acts.

  • Can you identify active verbs?

Using the active voice to write creative fiction and nonfiction creates strong, concise, lively sentences. This skill improves the writing of all writers, and will help you, too!

When writing creative prose or poetry, writers like verbs in the active voice because they make their work more exciting, alive, and stronger.

Read this passage from the short story "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs.

He sat alone in the darkness, gazing at the dying fire, and seeing faces in it. The last was so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it in amazement. It got so vivid that, with a little uneasy laugh, he felt on the table for a glass containing a little water to throw over it. His hand grasped the monkey's paw, and with a little shiver he wiped his hand on his coat and went up to bed.

Study the sentences above. Notice that the sentence's subject is acting in each one.

Now, read the pairs of sentences below.

  • Can you figure out which ones are in the active voice and which are not?

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