Using Active Sentences in Your TOEFL Essay

Active sentences improve your TOEFL iBT essay writing. They strengthen opinions and make arguments powerful.

When writing your TOEFL iBT essay, try to use the active voice. It makes your argument stronger. It also makes your writing easier to understand!

When we write a sentence in English, the sentence can be either active or passive. There is an active voice and a passive voice for for every tense in English. Here's a chart to help you understand:

tenseactive voicepassive voice
Present simpleTeachers help students.Students are helped by teachers.
Present continuousTeachers are helping students.Students are being helped by teachers.
Past simpleTeachers helped students.Students were helped by teachers.
Past continuousTeachers were helping students.Students were being helped by teachers.
Future simpleTeachers will help students.Students will be helped by teachers.
Future continousTeachers will be helping students.Students will be being helped by teachers.
"going to" futureTeachers are going to help students.Students are going to be helped by teachers.
Present perfectTeachers have helped students.Students have been helped by teachers.
Present perfect continuousTeachers have been helping students.Students have been being helped by teachers.
Past perfectTeachers had helped students.Students had been helped by teachers.
Past perfect continuousTeachers had been helping students.Students had been being helped by teachers.
Future perfectTeachers will have helped students.Students will have been helped by teachers.
Future perfect continuousTeachers will have been helping students.Students will have been being helped by teachers.

Hopefully you have a general idea of what active and passive are. On the next page you'll find out why it is important to use the active voice as much as possible.


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