Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Active Voice Workshop

by Tolly Taylor '12

In April 3, the Writing Center welcomed Dr. Porterfield for a workshop on how to find and fix passive voice. Tolly Taylor tells us how it went. 

When it comes to teaching the active voice, Dr. Porterfield cannot be called an amateur by anyone. Sorry, make that: no-one can call Dr. Porterfield an amateur-- I’m clearly still learning. In fact, as a student in his Prison Poetry class, I know firsthand that our president spends time reviewing the active voice because he values interesting, exciting prose, and using the active voice demands just that. 

The presentation was started by Judith and me, welcoming our guests, and then eventually Dr. Porterfield was introduced by me. Whoa. Let’s try that again. Judith and I started the presentation, welcoming our guests, and then I introduced Dr. Porterfield. Much better.

His philosophy about writing was spoken about by him for several minutes, after which the presentation was jumped into by Judith and me. Wait, sorry! Dr. Porterfield spoke about his writing philosophy for several minutes, after which Judith and I jumped into the presentation. Right.

Several topics were covered by us, including “What is the Passive Voice?,” “What is the Passive Voice NOT,” “Why is Active Voice Better?,” and “How to break down the Passive Voice and make it Active.” Okay, seriously—we covered several topics, including…you get the idea, right? 

A worksheet was gone over by Dr. Porterfield, which was then completed by our guests. Yeesh, this is hard. Dr. Porterfield went over a workshop, which our guests then completed. Questions were answered by him…ahem. He answered questions, everyone was happy, and I stopped using the passive voice just in time to graduate!


  • active voice workshop4
  • Tolly Taylor