9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ak-tiv] /ˈæk tɪv/
engaged in action; characterized by energetic work, participation, etc.; busy:
an active life.
being in a state of existence, progress, or motion:
active hostilities.
involving physical effort and action:
active sports.
having the power of quick motion; nimble:
active as a gazelle.
characterized by action, motion, volume, use, participation, etc.:
an active market in wheat; an active list of subscribers.
causing activity or change; capable of exerting influence (opposed to passive):
active treason.
effective (opposed to inert):
active ingredients.
Grammar. noting or pertaining to a voice of verbal inflection in which typically the subject of the sentence is represented as performing the action expressed by the verb (opposed to passive): Writes in He writes a letter every day is an active verb form.
requiring or giving rise to action; practical:
an active course.
(of a volcano) in eruption.
Accounting. profitable; busy:
active accounts.
requiring personal effort or attention; not automatic:
an active alarm system.
active paper.
Medicine/Medical. acting quickly; producing immediate effects:
active remedies.
Sociology. (of a crowd) engaging in purposeful activity, often of a militant nature.
Compare expressive (def 4).
Aerospace. able to transmit signals:
an active communications satellite.
Electronics. (of a device or system) acting as a source of electrical energy, as a generator, or capable of amplifying or converting voltages or currents, as a transistor or diode.
(of a solar heating system) accumulating and distributing solar heat by mechanical means.
Military. serving on active duty.
  1. the active voice.
  2. a form or construction in the active voice.
an active person, member, subscriber, etc.:
The circular was mailed only to the actives on our list.
Informal. something showing considerable action or activity:
On the stock market there was heavy trading in the actives.
Origin of active
1300-50; < Latin āctīvus (see act, -ive); replacing Middle English actif < Middle French < Latin
Related forms
actively, adverb
activeness, noun
nonactive, adjective, noun
preactive, adjective
preactively, adverb
preactiveness, noun
quasi-active, adjective
quasi-actively, adverb
semiactive, adjective
semiactively, adverb
semiactiveness, noun
superactive, adjective
superactively, adverb
superactiveness, noun
1. acting; working; operative. 3. Active, energetic, strenuous, vigorous imply a liveliness and briskness in accomplishing something. Active suggests quickness and diligence as opposed to laziness or dilatory methods: an active and useful person. Energetic suggests forceful and intense, sometimes nervous, activity: conducting an energetic campaign. Strenuous implies arduous and zealous activity with a sense of urgency: a strenuous effort. Vigorous suggests strong, effective activity: using vigorous measures to accomplish an end. 4. agile, sprightly.
1. lazy. 5. sluggish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for active
  • They were not involved in any type of active mentoring program.
  • The successful applicant will also be expected to pursue an active research agenda.
  • Researchers have used a sophisticated imaging technique to watch lava move though an active volcano.
  • But the researchers also found that amino acids stop the glucose action, keeping the cells active and the mice alert.
  • Because burrowing owls are active during the day, they are a highly visible species.
  • After active growth starts, water plants thoroughly once a week, wetting the entire root system.
  • The automakers offering semiautonomous active safety systems primarily have been concerned with developing reliable technology.
  • The candidate is expected to develop an active undergraduate research program in their area of interest.
  • Many other volcanoes are dormant, showing no current signs of exploding but likely to become active at some point in the future.
  • But the big finding is that the cell nucleus has two compartments-and genes are only active in one.
British Dictionary definitions for active


in a state of action; moving, working, or doing something
busy or involved: an active life
physically energetic
exerting influence; effective: an active ingredient
  1. denoting a voice of verbs used to indicate that the subject of a sentence is performing the action or causing the event or process described by the verb, as kicked in The boy kicked the football Compare passive (sense 5)
  2. another word for nonstative
being fully engaged in military service (esp in the phrase on active service)
(of a volcano) erupting periodically; not extinct Compare dormant (sense 3), extinct (sense 3)
(astronomy) (of the sun) exhibiting a large number of sunspots, solar flares, etc, and a marked variation in intensity and frequency of radio emission Compare quiet (sense 8)
  1. producing or being used to produce profit, esp in the form of interest: active balances
  2. of or denoting stocks or shares that have been actively bought and sold as recorded in the Official List of the London Stock Exchange
  1. containing a source of power: an active network
  2. capable of amplifying a signal or controlling some function: an active component, an active communication satellite
  1. the active voice
  2. an active verb
(mainly US) a member of an organization who participates in its activities
Derived Forms
actively, adverb
activeness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin āctīvus. See act, -ive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for active

mid-14c., "given to worldly activity" (opposed to contemplative or monastic), from Old French actif (12c.) or directly from Latin activus, from actus (see act (n.)). As "capable of acting" (opposed to passive), from late 14c. Meaning "energetic, lively" is from 1590s; that of "working, effective, in operation" is from 1640s. Active voice is recorded from 1765 (grammatical use of active dates from mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for active


advanced controls technology for integrated vehicles
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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