NCO Primary Leadership Subjects
Rule 2: Write in the Active Voice
The active voice emphasizes the doer of an action. Use the active voice to create
short, strong, direct writing.
The active voice shows who or what does the action. It uses the standard English
sentence structure of subject-verb-object Thus the subject does the action.
SGT Jones fired the rifle. (The subject, SGT Jones, did the action.)
The passive voice obscures or eliminates the doer entirely.
The rifle was fired by SGT Jones. (The object, rifle, changes places with the
subject [now a prepositional phrase] and receives the action.)
The rifle was fired. (Who fired the rifle?)
The passive voice typically uses some form of the verb to be (am, is, are, was, were,
be, been) plus a main verb that ends with -d, -ed or -en (past participles). Passive
sentences usually use more words than active ones, but much less directly.
To change passive voice to active voice, use one of these techniques:
Eliminate the form of the verb to be and put the doer (the one "doing" the action)
PASSIVE: The report was submitted by Joe. (Joe is the doer.)
ACTIVE: Joe submitted the report.
Eliminate the verb to be and the past participle verb ending.
PASSIVE: He is required to attend.
ACTIVE: I require him to attend.
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