English teachers tell their students to always write in the active voice when writing essays or arguments. However, these teachers tend to be vague in direction, meaning those listening have no clue what either active or passive voice actually look like on the page. Oftentimes, these confused kids have to turn to outside sources for help in writing the next great essay about To Kill A Mockingbird. And I am here to demonstrate the differences in active and passive voice using kids’ favorite medium for teaching: video games! Specifically, by comparing the titles of the original 1991 Game Boy release of Metroid II and the 2017 3DS remake, we can easily see how active and passive voice differ all while having fun!
The remake of Metroid II is fully titled “Metroid: Samus Returns”. This is a title written in active voice, and you can tell by the word ordering. It’s simple: subject followed by verb. Samus is the subject, and she is returning in this game as the title indicates. The title gets its point across in two words. The brevity and clarity of the title are the two main reasons why teachers prefer active voice in persuasive essays. Such a style eliminates word clutter and makes it easy to see the point. However, such simple writing of subject-verb can get repetitive after a while, kind of like hunting the 8 metroids in Area 2 of this game can get repetitive, so don’t be afraid to change up your style every once in a while.
“Metroid II: Return of Samus” inverts the subject-verb form. Such a formulation makes the subject of the sentence unclear. Until you get to the fifth and final word, you don’t know who is returning. Furthermore, “return” is being used as a noun instead of a verb. It’s a slight difference, but the change to a noun also takes away the urgency and action a verb would bring. Plus, this title takes more words to say the same thing. The passive style here muddies the clarity and weakens any point the title might have had. Both reasons are why teachers recommend active voice. That is not to say that passive voice does not have a place in writing. It just doesn’t work well when writing arguments or titles that want to grab the reader.
Hope today’s grammar lesson through video games helped you all. Keep gaming, and keep learning!
Intern, did you steal this from the Purdue OWL people? There are owl people in Purdue? I gotta go to… wait, where is Purdue? Indiana. That’s besides the point. We’re a comedy blog, not an educational blog. Seems like it’s time for me to give you a lesson. We haven’t been funny in years. You’re right, 2016 was 2 years ago. Not the point! Should’ve used active voice to have made your point then. See, I told you this post was worthwhile.