Writing Actively: Why the Active Voice Is Advised

If you are enrolled in a reputable OET review center, like JRooz OET, it is more likely than not that your instructor would have touched upon the subject of verb properties. To recap, verbs have five properties:

1. Mood

Verbs have three moods: indicative, the most common, which is used to ask questions or express opinions and facts; imperative, which is used to command, request or seek permission; and subjunctive, the least common, which is used to express hypotheticals, desires, or mental conceptions.

2. Tense

Tense indicates the time in which an act, state, or condition is happening or happened. There are three general types of verb tenses with their respective subsections: present, past, and future.

3. Person

This property indicates, who is acting in a sentence. In English, there are three options: first person (I or we), second person (you), or third person (he, she, it, they).

4. Number

A verb can either be singular or plural. In a sentence, the number of the verb should always agree with the sentence’s subject.

5. Voice

Lastly, and our subject for this article is the voice. There are two grammatical voices: the active and the passive voice. In the following section, we would lay out the reasons why your OET course instructor would probably suggest that you use the active voice instead of the passive, and layout the groundwork on how you can effectively utilize the active voice.


For a sentence to be considered in the active voice, the subject must be the one acting upon the verb. Doing this gives the sentence a clear and straightforward tone. Look at the difference between a sentence in the active and the passive voice:

PASSIVE:       Keith Thurman was defeated by Manny Pacquiao.

ACTIVE:                      Manny Pacquiao defeats Keith Thurman.

Active sentences have a basic construction: S-V-O (subject–verb–object).

Manny Pacquiao defeats Keith Thurman

Subject                               Verb    Object

The subject, Manny Pacquiao, is the one who does the action, defeats, to the object, Keith Thurman. It is easily recognizable why instructors in your OET center would advise you to write in the active voice as it is shorter, clearer, and caries more punch.


For your OET writing exam, your top priority, first and foremost, is to answer the questions as clearly and as grammatically correct as possible. You can achieve such results using either of the voices. However, because of its properties, as mentioned above, the ACTIVE VOICE is a more reliable choice.

FINAL REMINDER: This does not mean that the PASSIVE VOICE should never be used. When used in the right context, the passive voice can be equally effective.

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By | 2019-07-18T05:36:03+00:00 July 18th, 2019|OET General Information|0 Comments

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