What is found in a passive sentence?

  • The verb “to be”
  • a “by…” phrase
  • a “been…” phrase

Avoiding passive voice

It’s best to avoid passive voice. To say that another way: avoid passive voice like the plague. Why? The active voice lives the paper up and adds to the clarity of the sentence. This leads to writing that is both easier to read and more captivating.

How to convert passive to active

  • Highlight sentences that contain the phrases “by…” or “been” combined with a form of the verb “to be.”
  • Locate the subject, the verb, and the acting agent (the person or thing performing the verb) in each sentence.
  • Make sure that the acting agent and the subject are the same.
  • If it’s not, rearrange the sentence so that the subject is the acting agent.

Hint: Normally in passive voice, the acting agent will be found at the end of the sentence.


  • Passive: The cake was eaten by Greg.
    Active: Greg ate the cake.
  • Passive: The page was torn out by Joe.
    Active: Joe tore out the page.
  • Passive: Candy is loved by children.
    Active: Children love candy.

Contact Us

Have more questions? Visit the Writing Studio, and we’ll be happy to help!

Contact Information

Campus Address
Writing Studio, Kemp Library
Title of Department Leader
Director, Writing Studio
Sandra Eckard
(570) 422-3593