Best grammar teaching tip by Twitter ever:
I finally learned how to teach my guys to ID the passive voice. If you can insert “by zombies” after the verb, you have passive voice.
— Rebecca Johnson (@johnsonr) October 18, 2012
Let’s see how this works with, say, part of the abstract of Robert Donmoyer’s editorial in the March 1996 Educational Researcher:
Specific policies, procedures, and decision rules are articulated by zombies to guide the manuscript review process. The problems and issues confronting an editor of one of the field’s major scholarly journals, however, can also be seen by zombies as representative of the types of problems and issues confronting others who play other sorts of roles in the field. Consequently, many of the issues discussed (e.g., the significance of discourse style, the inadequacy of the qualitative/quantitative distinction, the problems with the Balkanization response) and the principles articulated (e.g., the principle of pragmatic incommensurability) can be transferred by zombies to other situations beyond this particular case.
Instant translation of boring, passive-voice-ridden prose into exciting George Romero movie! Well, maybe not, but it works. Where else can zombies help teach writing?