Quick Start Guide: Active and Passive Voice


Welcome to the Learning Commons Quick Start Guide on active and passive voice!

Active and passive voice are two fundamental ways of writing that you should understand if you would like to be an effective writer in any discipline.

This guide will explain:

  •     What voice is   
  •     How to determine voice in a sentence
  •     When to use active and when to use passive voices
Course Information

Course Level: Beginner

Time to Complete: 15 mins

Perfect for: Students in WRTG100/101, ENGL103, or anyone who needs a refresher.

Guide Creator: Kieran Wear

Active and Passive Voice 101

This video is a primer on grammatical voice:


In this mini-course, we explore this in more detail:

  1. Tell whether a given sentence is in passive or active voice.
  2. Determine the best instances to use passive and active voices.
  3. Quickly fix sentences’ voices, often with the goal of introducing more active voice into your writing.

Additional Resources

Below are some great links to follow if you want to read more on active and passive sentences:


Active and Passive Introduction



Handout from UBC

Handout from University of Waterloo

Passive Voice: When to Use it and When to Avoid It


If you would like to talk any of this through then we look forward to talking to you. Book an appointment!