Active and Passive Voice
What is Voice of a verb?
The voice of a verb expresses whether the subject in the sentence has performed or received the action.
- The watchman opens the door.
- The door is opened by the watchman.
Types of Voices of Verb
Verbs have two voices:
- Active Voice
- Passive Voice
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When an action performed by the subject is expressed by the verb, it is an active voice. Active voice is used when more straightforward relation and clarity is required between the subject and the verb.
Active Voice Examples
- Hens lay eggs.
- Birds build nests.
When the action expressed by the verb is received by the subject, it is passive voice. Passive voice is used when the doer of the action is not known and the focus of the sentence is on the action and not the subject.
Passive Voice Examples
- Eggs are laid by hens.
- Nests are built by birds.
Active and Passive Voice Rules for Conversion of Sentence
Below are the active-passive voice rules to follow for changing an active sentence into a passive voice. Before heading to the rules of active-passive voice, let’s check the examples of active and passive voice sentences.
Conversion of Active and Passive Voice Examples
- Rita wrote a letter. (Subject + Verb + Object)
- A letter was written by Rita. (Object) + (auxiliary verb) + (past participle) + (by subject).
- She cooks food. (Subject + Verb + Object)
- The food is cooked by her. (Object) + (auxiliary verb) + (past participle) + (by subject)
Rules for Active – Passive Voice Conversions
Identify the (S+V+O) Subject, Verb and object in the active sentence to convert to passive voice
He drives car. (Subject – He, verb – Drives, object – Car)
Interchange the object and subject with each other, i.e. object of the active sentence become the subject of the passive sentence.
Active voice: She knits sweater. (Subject – She, Verb – Knits, Object – Sweater)
Passive Voice: The sweater is knitted by her. (Object sweater is interchanged with the subject She).
Change the base verb in the active sentence into the past participle ie. third form verb in a passive sentence i.e. preceded by (By, With, to, etc). Base verbs are never used in passive voice sentences.
- Active voice: She prepares dinner.
- Passive voice: The dinner is prepared by her.
- Active voice: She knows him.
- Passive voice: He is known to her.
- Active voice: Juice fills the jar.
- Passive voice: The jar is filled with juice.
While conversion of Active voice sentence to Passive voice sentence, the pronoun used in the sentence also changes in the following manner.
|Active Voice Pronoun
|Passive Voice Pronoun
Forms of Active and Passive Voice for all Tenses
Simple Present Tense
|He writes an essay
|An essay is written by him
|Sheena does the housework
|The housework is done by Sheena
|She cares for the rabbit
|The rabbit is being cared for by her
|Jacob always plays the guitar
|The guitar is always played by Jacob
Present Continuous Tense
|They are eating bananas
|The bananas are being eaten by them
|Bob is drawing a diagram
|A diagram is being drawn by Bob
|Samta is playing the piano
|A piano is being played by Samta
|She is waiting for Reema
|Reema is being waited for by her
Present Perfect Tense
|Has he done the work?
|Has the work been done by him?
|Have they left the apartment?
|Has the apartment been left by them?
|He created this masterpiece
|This masterpiece is created by him
|He read the newspaper
|The newspaper is being read by him
Note: [except certain exemptions, no passive Voice formation for the following tenses can be formed, Present Perfect Continuous Tense, Past Perfect Continuous Tense, Future Perfect Continuous Tense and Future Continuous Tense]
Simple Past Tense
|Ria paid the bills
|The bills were paid by Ria
|The teacher called the student
|The student was called by the teacher
|She did not buy the fruits
|The fruits were not bought by her
Past Progressive / Continuous Tense
|They were waiting for him
|He was being waited for by them
|Astha was learning French
|French was being learnt by Astha
|She was playing kabaddi
|Kabaddi was being played by her
Past Perfect Tense
|She won the match
|The match had been won by her
|I had finished her work
|Her work had been finished by me
|He had missed the last metro
|The last metro had been missed by him
Simple Future Tense
|He will write a letter
|A letter will be written by him
|He will repair her cycle
|Her cycle will be repaired by him
|He shall start the meeting
|The meeting will be started by him
Future Perfect Tense
|Meena will not have changed the bedsheet
|The bed sheet will not have been changed by Meena
|They will have won the match
|The match will have been won by them
|Reena will have washed the skirt
|The skirt will have been washed by Reena
Practice Questions : For Active And Passive Voice
The significance of knowing the rules of active and passive voice for the English language section of various competitive exams can only be understood by knowing the type of questions asked in the examination, based on the same.
Directions: In the following questions, a sentence has been given in either Active or Passive Voice. From the four options select the one which best expresses the same sentence in the opposite voice than mentioned in the question.
Never disobey your elders.
- You are asked not to disobey your elders.
- You are ordered not to disobey your elders.
- Do not disobey your elders.
- You are not to disobey your elders.
Answer: Option A - You are asked not to disobey your elders
Question 2: The students were listening to the teacher.
- The teacher is listened to by the students.
- The teacher listened to students.
- The teacher was listening to by the students
- The teacher was listened to by the students.
Answer: Option D - The teacher was listened to by the students.
Question 3: I have to do it.
- It is be done by me.
- It should to be done by me.
- It has to be done by me.
- It would to be done by me.
Answer: Option C - It has to be done by me.
Question 4: Tell the maid to prepare tea.
- You are ordered to tell the maid to prepare tea.
- You are said to tell the maid to prepare tea.
- You are advised to tell the maid to prepare tea.
- You are asked to tell the maid to prepare tea.
Answer: Option D - You are asked to tell the maid to prepare tea.
Question 5: Who stole your bike?
- Your bike was stolen by him?
- By whom was your bike stolen?
- Your bike was stolen by whom?
- By whom your bike stolen?
Answer: Option B - By whom was your bike stolen?