Passive voice in grammar means expressing actions without actually saying who’s doing them, or who they apply to.
A lot of high school students try to use passive voice because they believe that is sounds more sophisticated or academic to a reader. In reality, it’s just confusing and vague – it usually undermines the impact of your sentence.
Here’s our advice on how to avoid using passive voice in your writing for the HSC Examinations.
– Through discoveries, profound insights about the self and the wider world are gained. It can be seen in both texts that moments of revelation have a shaping influence on personal outlook.
– Through discoveries, an individual gains profound insights about themselves and their wider world. Both texts show us that moments of revelation have a shaping influence on the personal outlook of someone who experiences them.
Related to this is the use of the grammatical term “one”. Again, students try to use this because they think in sounds correct or sophisticated – but almost no one actually knows how to use it correctly. Using “one” means you need to keep using “one” and “one’s”for the rest of your sentence and probably the entire piece of writing.
You cannot combine “one” with “them” and “their”. And in almost every case, it’s simpler and more meaningful to use “an individual”, “a person”, “people” or even “we” instead. (Don’t use “you as an alternative – it’s too colloquial.)
– In making a discovery, one can learn more about themselves and their world, even though they may have initially reacted with shame.
Correct (but still not recommended)
In making a discovery, one can learn more about oneself and one’s world, even though one may have initially reacted with shame.
Correct and recommended
In making a discovery, an individual can learn more about themselves and their world, even though they may have initially reacted with shame.
In making a discovery, we can learn more about ourselves and our world, even though we may have initially acted with shame.
Excel in English this year with the help of Talent 100. Learn more about our Advanced English course structure, 1-1 tutorials, weekly writing tasks and how we can prepare you for the HSC with face-to-face and online class options. Click here for more information!