Good and Bad Writing -- Exercises in Evaluating Writing Samples
Grammar -- Active vs. Passive Voice
A verb is active when its subject performs the action.
Active voice: the American army and its allies defeated the British army at Yorktown.
A verb is passive when its subject does not perform the action.
Passive voice: The British army was defeated at Yorktown.
AV: Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton
PV: Alexander Hamilton was shot by Aaron Burr.
Historians typically use active voice because it is clearer and more concrete than passive voice.