We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Active Verbs?

By M.J. Casey
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Verbs relay action or a state of being and are one of two elements necessary to make a sentence. Verb choice and sentence construction determine whether sentences are active or passive in voice. Active verbs carry out the actions of the subject. Sentences written in the active voice tend to be more direct and less wordy. Many writers believe the active voice to be more engaging, while other writers believe active verbs lack the subtlety in meaning that passive sentences may deliver.

In the active voice, the subject takes the action, for instance: The author read aloud the last 100 pages. In the passive voice, the emphasis is placed not on the noun that took the action but on the noun that received the action, for example: The last 100 pages were read aloud by the author. The subject and object of the sentence are often switched when changing from the active to the passive voice.

Active verbs can usually be recognized if they are stated in an action form such as run, jump, or hide. These verbs in the past tense are also active verbs: ran, jumped, and hid. Active verbs usually directly follow the subject: John runs; John ran.

Passive verbs are often constructed by using the to be form of the active verb with the past participle of the main verb. An example of an active sentence would be: I painted the bus. In the passive verb form, the sentence becomes: The bus was painted by me.

Legal or scientific articles tend to use the passive voice more frequently. The active voice may appear as too personal in these environments. A scientist may be more comfortable with the passive sentence: The solution was prepared. In scientific circles, use of active verbs sometimes may appear as self-promotion or improper emphasis: I prepared the solution.

A passive voice may be preferable when the object of the active version of the sentence should be emphasized rather than the subject. The emphasis is on the defendant being at a certain place in the following sentence: The defendant was seen leaving the area by the witness. The active version of this sentence might make a listener focus on the witness rather than the defendant: The witness saw the defendant leaving the area.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.