If there’s one thing I can never get a handle on, it’s passive voice. Me and grammar don’t do well together, and there are so many rules I can never remember them. Suffice to say, I don’t really know what active and passive voice are, but we’re not really here to talk about that.
During my writing years, (and more recently,) all I have been told, is this: passive voice, is a big no no.
Is that true? Is it not? Who knows. It’s writing advice, so of course it’s a matter of opinion. It’s also a matter of how you use either active or passive voice. Sometimes the passive works better. Sometimes, the active packs more of a punch. That’s up to the writer to decide.
I have difficulty telling the difference between active and passive, which is why I don’t really pay it any mind. But I’ve learnt something recently that can help recognise whether you’re using active or passive voice.
And that something, is zombies.
If you can insert (by zombies,) after the verb, whatever that is, you have passive voice.
She was killed (by zombies.) Passive
Zombies killed (by zombies,) her. Active.
It’s a great grammatical tool, especially if it’s something you’re looking to actively change in your own writing.
Good thoughts and happy writing!