Just for fun, let’s play around with active/passive voices.
This afternoon, we were sitting under a tree, enjoying the breeze and digesting our lunches, when a cicada peed on my husband’s head.
A cicada peed on my husband’s head.
This is clear and direct and probably paints more than enough of a picture for most folks. But just in case it doesn’t, cicadas are hideous, grey creatures with bulgy eyes, nasty spindly legs and over-sized translucent wings. The males spend their lives chasing the females, as happens with most species, but their chosen serenade is a high pitched screechy buzz that, when the horny little buggers really get going, will make you want to tear your ears off or bury your head in a bucket of sand. (Wikikpedia, you are way off the mark calling this a “clicking sound”.) They have a nasty proboscis type appendage they use to suck sap out of trees and said sap becomes cicada pee. If you happen to step on a dead cicada, the resulting crunch will travel up your spine like a jolt of lightning and leave you quivering and slightly nauseated.
Now let’s try the passive voice.
My husband’s head was peed upon by a cicada.
In this case, my husband’s head has been spotlighted as the victim and the repulsive cicada has been relegated to the back seat where he belongs. On a positive note, the use of the delightful “upon” is clearly called for by the passive voice and has given the sentence a certain lilt lacked by the active voice. But the passive has also given the sentence a formality that the active didn’t have. It took the punch out of the pee, so to speak. (The pee had the punch taken out of it?)
Japanese people generally love cicadas and their song is called a sentimental hallmark of summer. My husband used to catch them and stick them in my face saying, “Look! Isn’t it cute?” He knows better now.
The little wretches are hated by me…actively.