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"should be returned to the same". what can I write instead of this to avoid the passive voice error or can be written in an active voice?

  • It may be that you have to or want to avoid the passive for reasons good or bad, but there is no 'passive voice error' in your fragment sentence. However, if you want suggestions about how it could be rewritten in the active voice, you will need to give us the whole sentence. – Shoe Mar 15 at 11:48
  • Neha, it would also help to know more of the context in which this was marked as an error. Was this an online program? A professor? Microsoft Word? Programs sometimes overcorrect, and professors may have pedagogical reasons for discouraging active voice or passive voice. – TaliesinMerlin Mar 15 at 16:42
  • Why do you think that the passive voice is an error Neha? Self-appointed style gurus and the MS Word style checker don't like it but it is grammatically correct and often very useful. – BoldBen Mar 16 at 0:38
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If a passive sentence hides the subject, just concentrate on finding and presenting the subject, even if it isn't quite clear or doesn't quite make sense. To get there, it helps to start with the object of the sentence (easily removed if an object is unneeded - it's just hypothetical; booted at any time):

"Something "should be returned to the same" (...?)

What is the object?--It's not given. So, we'll say a VCR.

"A VCR should be returned to the same..."

So, that's the object, the verb, and a hidden subject. Maybe the subject could be Bill, or Ted, or even Bill and Ted! And after Bill & Ted return the VCR, maybe the subject becomes anyone....maybe me...? It has to be structured like that above, right? Well, no - you just defer to the generic.

"One/You should return the VCR to the same location."

If the intention was no object, not even a cool VCR; then that's okay.

"One/You(/Bill/Ted/Bill & Ted) should return to the same..."

Hopefully that helps!

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