Writing “active” sentences

It’s an area many of us struggle with, and Assignment 2.2 definitely reflected this. So, how do we make sure we are writing effectively, actively, and using sentence structure to our benefit?

Don’t ask Yoda, he’s no help at all.


Lets take a look at an example of a sentence written in the passive voice (I have based this upon language seen in many Assignment 2.2 submissions):

‘When asked by a student if the Lolipop Party would increase funding to TAFEs and universities if elected in September, Minister for Artificial Flavouring Cola Chuppachup said, “Yes, that is a key priority.”‘

This is pretty cumbersome and awkward, it’s lengthy and wastes words to express a basic idea. The structure of the sentence is problematic and unwieldy. We also really don’t need to know that it was a student that asked the question. We can definitely improve this.

Remember, writing in the active voice means the subject of the sentence “acts”.

This sentence can be written differently, depending on the context, and where in the story it will be placed.

If you were using it as your lead, you might write:

‘The Lolipop Party will make funding to TAFEs and universities a key priority if elected in September, Minister for Artificial Flavouring Cola Chuppachup said yesterday.’


‘Funding to TAFEs and unviersities would be increased under a Lolipop Party government, with Minister for Artificial Flavouring Cola Chuppachup calling increased funding for higher education “a key priority.”‘

However, if you were including this sentence in the body of your news article, rather than the lead, you will need to make some small changes to phrasing:

Mr Chuppachup told the press conference at La Trobe University increased funding to TAFEs and universities would be made “a key priority” if the Lolipop Party was elected in September.’

For more tips relating to writing in the active voice, check out this post from To Write A Story: “Passive Voice Demonstrated by Zombies“, and this reddit thread, from the community r/explainlikeimfive