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When we think about writing a text, there is something we must take into account: not all ideas should be expressed following the same structure. There are some more complex sentences than others according to their context and objective. In general, the passive voice serves to highlight the element that receives the action, rather than who executes it.

The passive voice is a way of constructing sentences that highlights the person or thing that is directly affected by the action of the verb. In the passive mode, the most important information is transferred to the first position of the sentence, and the person or thing that carries out the action of the verb is left in the background.

Some English-speaking people consider that the passive voice is a bad writing habit. However, the passive voice is not incorrect and indeed there are times that it could be very useful.

Indeed, the passive voice is an ace up the sleeve for all those who have to write scientific reports and also summarize their own information or experiments, procedures or others (although including the names could distract from the initial objective.)

The passive voice is used to show interest in the person or thing that is the object of an action, rather than the person or thing that performs the action. In other words, the most important person or thing becomes the subject of the sentence.

If we want to say who or what performs the action in a passive construction, we use the preposition "by". When we know who carried out the action and if the subject interests us, then it is better to opt for the active voice.

That said, let’s review some correct uses of the passive voice:

  1. As previously explained, the passive voice is suitable when you present a formal idea, professional matter or legal deliberations. Some of the examples are reports of felonies or incidents with an unknown criminal. Among the benefits of using the passive voice is that it emphasizes the little details and the action rather than the person executing the action. This is very handy for describing the infractions in the legal matters.
  1. The passive voice is also used to explain some scientist context to emphasize the priority to the action regardless the subject/ person.
  1. Another use for the passive voice is when you want to emphasize an action itself and the doer of the action is irrelevant or distracting. For example, in the sentence: “The president was sworn in on a cold January morning,” the action itself, or the person or object receiving the action, is the most important part. That means the doer of the action can appear in a prepositional phrase or be absent from the sentence.

Don’t forget that there are times when the passive voice is convenient and necessary in daily life. In some of the uses, the passive voice is natural and clear.

But there is something to keep in mind about the passive voice: sometimes it can be complex to use, and some other times identifying the passive voice can be very tricky. That’s why you must remind that using the verb ‘to be’ doesn’t automatically put a verb phrase into the passive voice. You also need a past participle. That’s how to know when the passive voice is correctly used.

In short, using passive voice isn’t incorrect, it’s only a different style. Forming the passive voice requires the verb “to be” and a past participle. The passive voice is your best ally when the object receiving an action is the crucial part of the sentence (especially in scientific and legal contexts, when the performer of an action is unknown, or cases where the subject is distracting or irrelevant.)

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