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: https://www.lib.sfu.ca/about/branches-depts/slc/writing/style/active-and-passive-voice
More information surviving a zombie apocalypse can be found here: https://youtu.be/uPx2DT49yMg
Happy Halloween from your Student Learning Commons!!
Zombie by NAS from the Noun Project
Photo of SLC staff taken by Alexandria B. (SLC Writing and Learning Peer)