Passivity, Get Thee to the Bowels of HELL!!!!!!!!

Hello lovely readers 🙂

Today I’m going to talk about something that plagues my writing; the passive voice. This little devil keeps slowly and lazily rearing its ugly head; I mean its passive, its not going anywhere fast.

Essentially, passive voice is when the focus of the sentence is on the action. Those who perform the action are not important. On average, there is usually some version of the verb be which is coupled with a past tense. For example,
                                                                                          ‘She felt her soul had shattered.’

Now this is the complete opposite of using the more active voice where the subject causes the action of the verb, for example – “I sing a song of the soul”. It’s great because in one sentence you get cause and effect, a solid moving forward of the narrative. I, like every other writer in the known World, always try to write my best and if I’m honest using the passive voice is not done intentionally; it’s just really bloody annoying when it pops up regardless lol.

Lets not forget the fact that by making the object of an action into the subject of a sentence can effectively change how we view the World. What?? I hear you shout. How the Hell does grammar affect our view of the World?? Well consider this, how can we understand the World to begin with when the tool we use to define it can be moulded into such a lacklustre, slow, almost drippy language? For example, Richard Mitchell in Elements of Style, stated it best when he wrote – “You may want to object that a whole view of the world and its meanings can hardly be importantly altered by a silly grammatical form. If so, you’re just not thinking. Grammatical forms are exactly the things that make us understand the world the way we understand it. To understand the world, we make propositions about it, and those propositions are both formed and limited by the grammar of the language in which we propose.” Richard Mitchell. 

From now on I will have to make sure I really do rewire my brain to write in the active voice permanently, which I do do in my writing now but passivity attacks on the rare occasion with a vengeance. Does anyone have any tips? I’m not too proud to say I accept any and all advice 🙂 I’m proud of anything and everything I write 🙂 Tomorrow will be a post on my study on the active voice and how I will apply it to my writing.

Thank you, vent over. My head hurts and I feel like my passive polar bear at the top. Hope I haven’t hurt your head too much 🙂

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. J. S. Collyer
    Aug 10, 2014 @ 20:33:17

    This is really interesting!! Never actually had passive voice defined for me before. This is good to know!!

    Reply

  2. MJ Wesolowski
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 08:03:01

    Very much agree with this. The passive voice is a huge irk of mine too and looking back over years of my terrible writing, using it was one of the reasons it was so terrible!

    These days, I actively check myself for using the active voice (except when necessary) and, like wearing a pair of new trainers, it feels weird at first; then you get used to it; then before you know it, those new trainers are your stinky old faithful trainers you’d never dream of not wearing!

    Reply

    • akhinchey
      Aug 12, 2014 @ 08:09:33

      I love this, stinky active trainer voice 🙂 I really know where you’re coming from though. I always think to check my writing but sometimes the odd one or two examples will sneak through. I’ll just have to kick myself extra hard from now on 🙂

      Reply

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