My word doc always fills up with passive voice highlights, and I figured it's about time I stopped ignoring these frustrating little things, or big things, as I found out.
The first thing I learned is that the passive voice is not a grammatical error. Lesson one folks, it's not a grammatical error. It is, however, a style of writing where the reader may not always understand what you’re saying. This confusion is why it should be avoided if possible.
In short and way oversimplified, we don’t want the action word (verb) to take place before we know what the subject of the sentence is. Subject first and action second also helps the reader not to be confused by who or what is performing the action.
But wait! There’s more, much more.
The University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill goes into even greater detail, which I have below.
Passive voice sentence: Why was the road crossed by the chicken?
Who is doing the action in this sentence? The chicken is the one doing the action in this sentence, but the chicken is not in the spot where you would expect the grammatical subject to be. Instead, the road is the grammatical subject. The more familiar phrasing (why did the chicken cross the road?) puts the actor in the subject position, the position of doing something—the chicken (the actor/doer) crosses the road (the object). We use active verbs to represent that “doing,” whether it be crossing roads, proposing ideas, making arguments, or invading houses
Once you know what to look for, passive constructions are easy to spot. Look for a form of “to be” (is, are, am, was, were, has been, have been, had been, will be, will have been, being) followed by a past participle. (The past participle is a form of the verb that typically, but not always, ends in “-ed.” Some exceptions to the “-ed” rule are words like “paid” (not “payed”) and “driven.” (not “drived”).
Here’s a sure-fire formula for identifying the passive voice:
form of “to be” + past participle = passive voice
Passive voice examples:
The metropolis has been scorched by the dragon’s fiery breath.
When her house was invaded, Penelope had to think of ways to delay her remarriage.
Not every sentence that contains a form of “have” or “be” is passive! Forms of the word “have” can do several different things in English. For example, in the sentence “John has to study all afternoon,” “has” is not part of a past-tense verb. It’s a modal verb, like “must,” “can,” or “may”—these verbs tell how necessary it is to do something (compare “I have to study” versus “I may study”). And forms of “be” are not always passive, either—”be” can be the main verb of a sentence that describes a state of being, rather than an action. For example, the sentence “John is a good student” is not passive; “is” is simply describing John’s state of being. The moral of the story: don’t assume that any time you see a form of “have” and a form of “to be” together, you are looking at a passive sentence.
There are times where passive voice is okay. Passive voice can be used intentionally, if your subject is a person, and you don't know who that person is. For example, the vase was damaged by someone on the night shift. This sentence puts the vase front and center, making it the subject of the sentence.
A secondary reason for making the vase the subject is its significance. The vase may be the focal point of your story. It may be a magic vase, and you want the importance of that vase to stand out by making it the subject of the sentence.
Be sure to click on the links below for a more in-depth understanding of passive voice.
If you’d like to read the entire article by The University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill, click on this link https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/passive-voice/
I also found that watching a video by mmmEnglish helped me a lot. To view this video, click on the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkAyggAM1q4