Passive voice

The content analysis of Yoast SEO assesses whether or not you use passive voice. Passive voice is a grammatical construction. In this article, we will explain what the passive voice is and why we think you should avoid it. Next to that, we'll point you to a few exceptional cases in which Yoast SEO wrongfully detects the passive voice. Finally, we also have an article on how to avoid passive voice in your articles.

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What is passive voice?

Yoast SEO and Yoast SEO Premium currently support the passive voice analysis for Russian, Polish, Italian, English, German, French and Spanish.

Passive voice occurs if the noun or noun phrase that would be the object of an active sentence (such as Yoast SEO calculates your SEO score) appears as the subject of a sentence with passive voice ( The SEO score is calculated by Yoast SEO). In figure 1, we give more examples of passive voice and give better alternatives.

Passive voice Better alternative
This product can be bought in our webshop. Customers can buy this product in our webshop.
The bags are checked by a security employee. A security employee checks the bags.
The employees are informed about their financial contribution. The manager informs his employees about their financial contribution.
All our posts are checked by a colleague. A colleague checks all our posts.

Why should you avoid passive voice?

If you want to write an article which is nice and easy to read, you should try to avoid passive voice. In sentences with passive voice, it remains unclear who or what is acting. This results in very distant writing. Texts using a lot of passive voice tend to be hard and unattractive to read. Avoid using (as much as you can) the passive voice altogether.

In some cases, it can be quite hard to avoid passive voice. If you are writing a manual for example, you will probably not be able to do without passive voice.

Incorrect detection of passive voice

Human languages are often very irregular. That's why it's not always possible to achieve complete accuracy when automatically analyzing texts. In some exceptional cases, the passive voice analysis might fail to detect passive voice, or it might incorrectly detect passive voice when it isn’t there. To get an idea of when such cases might occur in each specific language, you can have a look at the overview pages for incorrect passive voice detection in the following languages:

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