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Writing a Statement of Purpose | Passive Voice

Why Avoid the Passive Voice When You Write a Statement of Purpose?

The passive voice is when the subject of the sentence is acted on by the verb. For instance, “the ball was caught by the dog.” The active version of this sentence would be “The dog caught the ball.” While both versions are correct English the preferred usage when writing a statement of purpose or any other writing is to use active versions of your writing.

The admissions committee will often be made up of academics who will often be pedantic about the correct order of your sentences. Not only that active voice is usually much clearer and easy to understand as well as using fewer words than the passive voice to accomplish the same meaning. Using fewer words is always going to be a positive as your word count is very limited within your statement of purpose and you will have a lot to say. Learning to avoid the use of the passive voice is therefore important when writing the statement of purpose.

The Difference between Passive and Active Voice When Writing a Statement of Purpose

You will always make a better impression on your statement of purpose if you use the active voice within it rather than passive. The following guidance will help you to better understand how your sentences should be constructed for the active voice so that you make a better impression on your writing:

The Active Voice

The correct order for a sentence when using the active voice will flow as such:

A person performing the action – the action – the object being acted on.

For example:

  • The teacher taught the class.
  • Bill ate all of the hamburgers
  • Mary spilt her drink on the table

Passive Voice

When you use the passive voice the order of your sentences are changed as follows:

The object being acted on – the action – person performing the action.

For example:

  • The class was taught by the teacher.
  • All of the hamburgers were eaten by Bill.
  • The drink was spilled on the table by Mary.

Using the active voice will always ensure that your sentences are clearer and easier to understand as well as being straight to the point. Passive voice is often far wordier and can often require rereading if overly complex to get the meaning clear in your head.

Next: Transitions

Make writing a statement of purpose easier and more effective by avoiding the passive voice in your application.