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Survive the (passive) zombie apocalypse with the SLC!

Don't let your writing get taken over by (passive) zombies! The Student Learning Commons is here to help
Published by Julia Lane

Want to learn a quick, and Halloween-appropriate, strategy for checking if your sentence is in the active or passive voice?

Here we go... 

You can recognize passive-voice expressions because the verb phrase will always include a form of be, such as am, is, was, were, are, or been. The presence of a be-verb, however, does not necessarily mean that the sentence is in passive voice.

Another way to recognize passive-voice sentences is that they may include a "by the..." phrase after the verb; the agent performing the action, if named, is the object of the preposition in this phrase.

So, if you can add “by zombies” after the verb and it makes sense, you probably have passive voice.



The town was invaded                     by zombies

The cake was eaten                         by zombies        

The university was founded            by zombies

                                                      = passive voice 


Zombies invaded the town

Zombies ate the cake 

Zombies founded the university 

                                                         = active voice 

More information on the active and passive voices can be found here:

More information surviving a zombie apocalypse can be found here:


Student Learning Commons staff in costumes

Happy Halloween from your Student Learning Commons!! 


Image credit: 

Zombie by NAS from the Noun Project

Photo of SLC staff taken by Alexandria B. (SLC Writing and Learning Peer)

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