The passive voice in essay writing

Active Voice or Passive Voice? What Is Active Voice? An author may write a sentence in one of two "voices"—active or passive. The active voice emphasizes the performer or agent of the action:

The passive voice in essay writing

Normally, when writing an essay at university you will be expected to use only academic sources. The following learning guide on source credibility will help you to determine whether an external source is academic or not. The chocolate essay uses the APA style of referencing, which is easy to distinguish from the Harvard Author-Date System, as the format is different: In that case the information comes before the author.

Such citations are called information-centred citations. When the focus is more on who is saying it then the citation is written like this: Such citations are called author-centred citations.

Try and achieve a balance between both types of in text-references in your essay writing. Reference list In the APA style of referencing, the reference list has certain conventions that you must also follow.

the passive voice in essay writing

Here are some examples from the chocolate essay: Include your in-text citations and reference list as part of your first draft. Redrafting your essay Leave yourself enough time to look at your essay more than once. For a word essay you need at least three days to redraft your essay.

Always save each draft as a separate file; then you can see how your essay develops and improves. Here are the sorts of questions you should ask yourself: You can also look at other checklists such as this one on editing your own work. Now compare the above with the final draft: Since Spanish explorers brought back chocolate from the new world, chocolate consumption has become a worldwide phenomenon.

At first, chocolate, a derivative of the cacao bean, was consumed as a drink, only later achieving mass popularity in tablet or bar form.

The realities of chocolate are more down to earth; a number of these realities will be addressed in this essay.

The passive agent

Chocolate has chemical properties that can influence mood and there is possible evidence for some positive impacts of chocolate on cardiovascular health. Yet, such positive attributes are counterbalanced somewhat by the argument that, in some instances, chocolate can be viewed as a drug rather than a food.

Moreover, there is the possibility of some correlation between over-consumption of chocolate and obesity. Take your time and be careful when redrafting—it will be worth it! How do you write in an academic way? Imagine your essay as a kind of story.

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You are the principal storyteller, the internal voice of the writer, leading the reader through to your conclusion. During the story, there are different voices that appear from time to time.

These are the external voices citations that add substance to your story, providing detail and support for what you are saying and sometimes even giving an alternative perspective. The external voices can be divided into two categories in your essay: The reader needs to know at all times whose voice they are hearing.

Is it your internal voice or the external voice of other authors?The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Passive Voice: When to Use It and When to Avoid It Academic writing often focuses on differences between the ideas of different researchers, or between your own ideas and those of the researchers you are discussing.

But you can still go back through your essay hunting specifically for passive sentences. At first, you may want to ask for. Struggling with the passive voice is the hardest thing for me to deal with when writing. I’m a pharmaceutical chemist by trade and a good deal of industry science is written in the passive voice.

Photo: Wikimedia commons There are plenty of folks happy to tell you how to write better, just as any doctor will tell you to “eat right and exercise.” But changing your writing (or eating) habits only happens when you understand why you do what you do.

I can help you with that. Sentences written in the active voice are also less wordy than those in the passive voice – and cutting unnecessary words always improves a piece of writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Students writing academic essays can sometimes tie themselves in knots trying to make sentences sound “formal” – which often (mistakenly) is.

The opening sentence of Watson and Crick's classic article is simple, direct, and clear. But suppose the authors had taken the passive point of view: In this paper, a structure is suggested for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (D.N.A.).

The Writing Center: Identify Passive Voice (With Zombies!)