I am using the hemingway editor to improve my prose. I was writing an intro and it suggested not to use passive voice. However, I was unable to find a proper active voice for the sentence which also conveyed the situation properly. Please help me with the correct usage, the bold text is what needs to change:

I had not uttered a single word in three days. There was a huge storm brewing, and it was raining . I was sitting with my eyes closed, seeking refuge under the shade of a big tree. I had been lost for quite a while, trying to find my way out. All I could hear was the pitter-patter of rain both inside and out.

You see, the rain outside created a perfect metaphor for my headspace. Worries swirled and raged inside my mind like a fierce thunderstorm. I was lost, not in a forest, but in the storm of my worries.

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    'Being lost' doesn't mean that someone has mislaid you; it's a special usage meaning that you don't know where you are. It's fine to use it here. Feb 28, 2022 at 9:23
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    If I were you, I would avoid using those editors. It's okay if you are using it to check spelling mistakes, but when it suggests you to change the tense or something, just ignore it. (Trust me, I've used grammarly for work before).
    – user150280
    Feb 28, 2022 at 11:39
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    What @KateBunting said. In the cited context, I had been lost isn't "passive" at all. It's just Past Perfect - same as He had been poor before he won the lottery. Feb 28, 2022 at 11:51

1 Answer 1


You can't find an active form, because that isn't a passive: it's an adjectival predicate.

It's certainly possible for be lost to function as a passive, when it's referring to things that people can lose, like coats, battles, and games of chess. But when referring to people who are not sure where they are, it's the adjective lost, not a passive verb.

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