Yesterday I learned that it is better to use active voice instead of passive voice in writing.

Well today I had an academic essay test and I used active verbs throughout the whole essay.

She told me the essay was very choppy, and that I used to write better.

So my question is should I use passive voice in essays too? Because my sentences are ending up pretty choppy.

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    "Better" does not mean the same as "always" 😐 – Mari-Lou A Apr 3 '19 at 10:46
  • @Mari-LouA and peter sorry for the misunderstanding, but i meant if i should switch out all passive voice with active voice – dwarfhunter12 Apr 3 '19 at 10:48
  • Could you show some examples of the sentences so we could know what do you mean by "choppy" here? – Bella Swan Apr 3 '19 at 11:02
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    It doesn't make much sense to say that active voice is better than passive voice.They both have their place. You can write good (or bad) sentences using either. There has been a tradition that scientific writing (can't comment on other academic areas) uses passive voice "the solution was brought to boiling point" rather than "we boiled the solution". If all your sentences start "We [did something]" then it could end up sounding "choppy" compared to passive voice where the subject varies more. – user323578 Apr 3 '19 at 11:07
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    This is way too broad. What kind of essay? Science, humanities, other discipline? What level - school, university, post-graduate? Are you fluent in English? Where did you get the advice about passive voice? Please edit your post to provide more detail. – Chappo Says SE Dudded Monica Apr 3 '19 at 11:16

I suggest you ask your teacher to explain what she means by choppy. But it may be because you contravened the given-new principle, whereby consecutive sentences begin with known or already mentioned information and are followed by new information.

Consider the following simple example:

The second world war began in September 1939. The invasion of Poland by German troops caused it. The Polish Socialist Party governed Poland at this time.

The second and third sentences each start with new information, which results in a choppy effect. Using the passive facilitates the given-new pattern and makes for smoother transitions from sentence to sentence:

The second world war began in September 1939. It was caused by the invasion of Poland by German troops. At this time Poland was governed by the Polish Socialist Party.

There is a very good article on the passive by the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina: Passive Voice.

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