Active Voice Examples

Active Voice

When sentences are written in active voice, that means that the subject of the sentence is performing the action of the sentence. This is the opposite of passive voice, which is when the subject of the sentence is not performing the action.

Active voice is very straightforward, and most writing teachers will assert that writing is more clear when active voice is used. At times, though, passive voice allows a writer to emphasize the object of the action rather than the person who performs the action.

Examples of Active Voice:

Jessica held the dog. (As opposed to "The dog was held by Jessica.")

The children enjoyed their recess. (As opposed to "Recess was enjoyed by the children.")

Additional Examples of Active Voice:

Excerpt from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger:

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like . . . They're nice and all-I'm not saying that-but they're also touchy as hell. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole . . . autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas.

Excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:

Jem's hand, which was resting on the balcony rail, tightened around it. He drew in his breath suddenly. Glancing below, I saw no corresponding reaction, and wondered if Jem was trying to be dramatic. Dill was watching peacefully, and so was Reverend Sykes beside him. "What is it?" I whispered, and got a terse, "Sh-h!"

Excerpt from The Lord of the Flies by William Golding:

The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon. Though he had taken off his school sweater and trailed it now from one hand, his grey shirt stuck to him and his hair was plastered to his forehead. All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry; and this cry was echoed by another.

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