If you are trying to find a reliable free passive voice checker, it’s not easy.
Many of the free online tools you might find through a search are usually extremely limited or little more than an ad to buy a premium subscription app.
But a few free tools are listed below that can help you avoid passive voice.
If you are new to writing, learning how to identify passive voice is the best way. Then you can change it to active very easily.
Don’t use the passive voice
Writing in the passive voice is a bad habit because it doesn’t explain who did what.
It is often called the first sin of writing.
But like every habit, you can break it if you put your mind to it.
When you can identify where you use the passive voice in your writing, you can change it to active.
The most common passive form is when the verb to be is followed by a past participle.
Here’s a quick example.
The car was driven at high speed by the escapee. (Passive)
To fix the sentences, you only need to place the subject before the main verb.
The escapee drove the car at high speed. (Active)
After a while, it will become an excellent new writing habit for you. But if you need help identifying passive sentences, here are some free tools you can try.
1. Hemingway App (Free) Best Free Choice
The Hemingway App is very well known as a tremendous free passive voice checker.
It is super fast and identifies passive voice with a clear green highlight for every structure it finds in your writing.
But then it is up to you to change your sentences.
The Hemingway Editor doesn’t give you any examples.
So there are no hints to help you re-phrase your sentences in the active construction.
Read our review of the Hemingway App and Editor.
2. AIOSEO Passive Voice Detector (Free)
The free AIOSEO app is a simple tool that detects passive in short texts.
All you need to do is paste your text in the box on the left and hit return.
The app will list all your passive sentences.
But the clever little addition is that it grades your passive sentences.
It will check for very hard, hard, and complex sentences as well as passive.
3. ChatGPT (Free)
Everyone is talking about AI writing apps now.
Well, here’s a way you can use it to detect and rewrite passive sentences.
My prompt at the top asks ChatGPT to identify passive forms and change them to active ones.
It’s a quick, free, and quite easy way to help you.
Read more about how to use ChatGPT to check your grammar.
4. Yoast or AIOSEO (Free)
If you are a blogger, you probably have an SEO tool like Yoast or All In One SEO.
Both of these free plugins give you passive voice detection in your editor screen.
Learn how to avoid the passive structure
When you write a passive sentence, it doesn’t tell the reader who is performing the action.
The reader knows something is happening or has happened. But they have no way of knowing who did or is doing it.
It happens when the subject of the sentence is not performing the action of the verb in the sentence.
The structure is the auxiliary verb to be plus the past participle.
It can also use the verbs to have and to get in the causative form.
Because of the form, we don’t know who is doing the action unless we add an operator.
For example, the passive voice subject is usually a thing and not a person.
The house was built in 1970.
We don’t know who built the house because the house receives the action of the verb.
The house was built in 1970 by John.
Now we know who built the house because John is the operator. But the house, the sentence subject, is acted upon by the verb.
Look at what happens when we change to the active voice.
The subject is now the person who is performing the action of the verb. The sentence is much easier to understand.
John built this house in 1970.
Now it is clear who built the house.
Change to the active voice
In English language writing, subject-verb active sentences are always the best option.
You should use the active form of the verb in articles, fiction, blog posts, and any type of messaging, email, or general correspondence.
But you can use passive construction a little more in business, scientific, and academic writing.
It is because there may be a need to avoid saying who did something or to apportion blame.
It’s common to use a prepositional phrase to introduce a topic.
In reply to your complaint, your delivery was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.
There is also the causative form. It is sometimes called the have or get something done form. Again we don’t know who performs the action.
Take a look at these examples to help you identify the problem.
I really need to have my car serviced.
Joe has to get his hair cut before his interview.
You should have your blood pressure checked.
Are you going to get your computer repaired?
In the examples above, again, you don’t know who is performing the action.
You need to change these sentences to the active form.
It is an easy fix. Make sure that you have a person as the subject of the sentence performing the action of the main verb.
I really need to have the garage service my car.
Joe has to get the barber to cut his hair before his interview.
You should have your doctor check your blood pressure.
Are you going to get Apple to repair your computer?
The active voice is always the best choice. It is more precise and much easier for readers to understand.
All you need to do is use a good grammar and sentence checker to find the passive structures in your text. Then you can rewrite your sentences in the active form.
Is the passive voice a writing mistake?
When you use it too often, yes, it is a writing fault.
But there are times when it is appropriate to say what happened or is happening to the subject of a sentence.
William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom.
It would sound awkward to write this sentence in an active voice and refer to his mother.
John Lennon is believed to have known his killer, who was a fan.
In this example, referring to John Lennon, it is a better style because using an active voice would not have the same meaning.
John Lennon knew his killer.
You might also use it occasionally to avoid placing the blame on the subject.
All of his letters were lost, so she never knew.
As with all elements of writing style, you need to know when, how, and why you use them.
The best passive voice checker tools
You also have the choice of premium software and tools.
They can help you find and also correct passive sentences in your writing.
While free tools can help, premium apps will always do a better job and give you many more features.
1. ProWritingAid (Premium)
Prowritingaid is a terrific writing tool and grammar checker. I use it a lot to improve and correct my writing.
I use it mainly to check long-form writing because there are so many reports to help me improve a text.
But it is also an excellent tool for finding the passive voice. As a passive corrector, it is by far the best because it gives you a simple one-click correction.
ProWritingAid not only detects passive sentences for you but also gives you helpful clues about how to fix your sentences.
Unlike other apps, the suggestions are based on the actual words in your sentence, so it is a very quick and easy fix.
Just click the suggestion you prefer to change your sentence to active voice automatically. Or you can edit your sentence using a different subject.
Read our full review of ProWritingAid.
2. Grammarly (Free and Premium)
It is no surprise that Grammarly is my number two choice.
Yes, there is a free version, but unfortunately, it doesn’t detect passive voice.
I use it every day, day in and day out, for my online writing.
For me, it is always on. Then it is only a matter of one click, and I can find and rewrite any passive phrases.
Here is a screengrab of my Grammarly editor for this post as I was writing it in WordPress.
You can see it detects passive voice sentences and highlights the occurrences for you. On the right, there is an explanation and examples of how to change the voice.
It makes it easy for me to find any of these forms. Then I can quickly change and rewrite these sentences in the active voice.
I have Grammarly in second place because it doesn’t use your words as Prowritingaid does. But it still does a great job.
You can read our full Grammarly review for more details.
All the passive voice checker tools I have mentioned above will do a great job for you. They will help you to write better and more accurately.
They will find your passive structures very fast, and then you can get to work on fixing them.
It doesn’t take much time to change passive sentences to active, and it will improve your writing clarity.
No matter which passive voice corrector or checker you select to use, you will be making a good choice.
ProWritingAid and Grammarly stand out because they come with many more features and tools but are not free.
But they are the two that will give you much more help when rewriting your sentences.
Related reading: How You Can Get Neither Nor And Either Or Correct Every Time