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This sentence is more active, but no more correct: “In this way, the old religion was able to survive the onslaught of new ideas until Christianity finally displaced the old gods.” Perhaps the newcomer, , should also come later in the sentence.Again, don’t indiscriminately exterminate passive construction at the expense of the writer’s voice or intent, but do exercise judicial revision to rejuvenate pallid prose.Passive voice is usually used when the object is the main focus.
Two actors, the committee and the report, are vying for the lead role here, but the head of the sentence would be to replace one passive sentence with another.He or she doesn’t have to spend time thinking of interesting or specific verbs, or writing in clear and concise language.It may be a time saver, but it will lead to a more muddled paper. Odysseus was a poor leader, which is shown by his refusal to listen to his men. As a poor leader, Odysseus refused to listen to his men. Women were unable to vote for decades after men were able to do so. While men elected official after official, women dreamed of going to the polls themselves. In the first case, it is more concise, and in the second, it forced me to write a more interesting phrase.Mercutio was the most interesting character in Romeo and Juliet./ Mercutio stood out as the most interesting character in Romeo and Juliet. Just remove the “ing” and you will have a more active sentence.Examples: She was walking home from school./She walked home from school.Just look at the sentence and think of a better, more specific verb to use.Examples: The street was filled with fruit stands./The street heaved (burst, sagged, etc.) with fruit stands. If you look through your passive sentences, chances are you’ll see quite a few “was”s and “were”s followed by an “ing” verb.“Groups help participants realize that most of their problems and secrets are shared by others in the group.” This sentence starts off actively but then turns and bellies up in the middle; emphasizing “others in the group” over “most of their problems and secrets” makes the sentence more active: “Groups help participants realize that others in the group share most of their problems and secrets.” 5.“The proposed initiative will be bitterly opposed by abortion rights groups.” The content may be about the proposed initiative, but that doesn’t preclude given a sentence about it a more dynamic structure: “Abortion rights groups will bitterly oppose the proposed initiative.” 6.Attend to the actors: “The committee determined that the report was inconclusive.” 3.“We were invited by our neighbors to attend their party.” as a sentence opener, but “our neighbors” is stronger still: “Our neighbors invited us to attend their party.” 4.