"and she realized it for the first time- he is hurting inside, and alone."
A lot depends on what this sentence wants to say:
Is it that she realize it for the first time
Or that for the first time he is hurting
or does that matter
It might be better to just say "and she realized, he's hurt and alone."
Sometimes we choose many words to say something that is as easily said in few.
Other times those words are important, or very important, or extremely very important. And it's not the passivity it's he careless use af adverbs and adjectives that tend to slow the whole piece down.
Some places say Passive Voice is acceptable, where others don't. So my question here is:
Is it allowed or acceptable, or do most novelists avoid it? How about in First Person narrative?
Another, and perhaps bigger, problem is word processors that try to teach you how to write!
(Although I agree with what Brian just said.)
Can I be annoying and say that both your sentences aren't passive? (Your grammar checker isn't always reliable. The same as it gets mixed up when people write colloquially, as in, "He was sat" - it doesn't think you've written as people sometimes speak it - "was sat" instead of "was sitting", which is proper grammar - it thinks, "Oh, this person meant, 'He was sat down by X' - and so tells you it's passive, because in that case it WOULD be passive.)
I used to give the advice, "Never use a form of 'to be' as it is passive", but, tbh, I was bad saying that. Brian has the right of it. AND not every instance of "is", "are", etc., is passive, and people sometimes get too carried away looking for passives when the sentence (even if passive) is perfectly correct and says what it needs to.
Anyway, think about it:
The sun is shining. That's not passive. That's just present progressive tense. How do you know this? Well, you could equally say: The sun shines, which has the same meaning.
The same as in these kinds of constructions and declarations:
Clouds ARE white.
I AM alive.
My boots ARE dirty.
The cat WAS purring.
(All are active. )
As regards your first version, what the grammar checker is doing is thinking you're trying to say, "The man was torn up by someone/something else". It doesn't realise that "torn up" doesn't have to be used in that way, although you could argue that people are torn up by grief, indecision, etc, which is implied. "I am torn" is a valid expression that doesn't have to have any qualifiers. Think, "I am torn between going left or right" - that's active; you couldn't say "Going left or right tears me"!
There's not much online about your specific example, tricky as it is, but I did find this in a book teaching grammar to Greeks: "In the same manner are to be explained in Greek the few instances where single tenses of a verb have in the Active form a Passive signification; especially some Perfects: I am torn or broken in pieces."
That's how I read your line, anyway. Others may disagree. You've adjective-ised your verb**, "torn", like you could say "A torn man" instead of "He was torn". Lookup "past-participle adjectives". You've also turned your verb, "torn", into a noun, by making the tearing into a state or feeling ("He felt torn").
What I have a problem with is that you've switched tenses. Your first version is past tense; in the second you've switched to present. Make sure the present tense fits with the rest of your narration! (Or is it character speech? In which case it would be fine.)
**idiomatic phrasal verb, in fact, that you've used intransitively (no agent specifying what's doing the tearing up).
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