Help with passive voice use


How should I re-word this so that "...they have been influenced..." doesn't come back as passive voice use?

See example:

When we talk about issues regarding women aspiring for higher political power all start somewhere and question how they have been influenced as they grow up, whether it is by roles models such as their mother, their grandmother, or nationally known associations like Girl Scouts.
asked Mar 05 '12 at 21:38 Lisa New member

1 answer



Let me start by saying what the the passive voice is not.  The passive voice is not a grammatical error.  Many questions have been asked on this forum about the passive voice, all of which you can view by using the search field above your question.  But I'll give you a quick run-down anyway (at least I hope it will be quick). 

       Active voice vs. passive voice:

  • A subject performing an action + a verb + an object receiving the action = active voice.  -> Justin [subject] popped [verb] the balloon [object receiving the action]. 
  • Receiver of the action + a form of to be + a past participle + by + doer of the action = passive voice.  -> The balloon [receiver] was popped [form of to be & past participle] by Justin [doer].
  • Sometimes the doer of the action is left out of a passive voice sentence.  -> The balloon was popped.

Changing have been influenced to are influenced isn't going to remove the passive voice from the sentence.  That said, I don't believe you need to make the sentence active.  You want the emphasis on women, which is what the passive voice does.  Active voice would read something like, Role models such as mothers, grandmothers, or nationally known associations like Girl Scouts influence women.  By the time I get to women, I've lost interest.  In my opinion, Tolley's answer is a perfect example of how the passive voice can, at times, be better than the active voice.


I hope all of this has made sense and didn't confuse you.  : )

link edited Mar 06 '12 at 03:34 Jody M. Expert

Judy--Thanks for pointing out my shortcoming in attention. I amended my answer to say what I originally intended.. TolleyMar 06 '12 at 03:08

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