Active and Passive Voice

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Introduction

Voice refers to the form of a verb that indicates when a subject performs the action or is the receiver of the action. When the subject performs the action it is active voice and when the subject receives the action it is passive voice. 

Examples

Active- He loves me.

Passive- I am loved by him.

In the above example of active voice, the subject is “he”, “loves” is the verb and “me” is the object.  In the example of the passive voice sentence,  “I” is the subject, “am loved” is the verb and “him’ is the object.

So, basically what happens is that the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence. Both the sentences have the same components but their structure changes. Active sentences are about what people or things do, while passive sentences are about what happens to the doer of an action.


Structure of Active and Passive Voice

  •  Active voice describes a sentence where the subject is the doer of an action. Its structure goes like this-

             Subject + Verb+ Object

  • Passive voice expresses an action which is carried out on the subject of the sentence. Its structure is-

              Object + verb +subject

Let’s look at some examples of Active and Passive Voice

Active (A)

Passive(B)

Sapna helps the old lady.

The old lady was helped by Sapna.

The mother is feeding the baby.

The baby is being fed by the mother.


Here are Certain Rules for Active and Passive Voice

  1. The subject of the verb in the active voice( Sapna, the mother) becomes the object in the Passive voice sentences.

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  1. It is a thumb rule that main verbs become the Past participle form. For eg- Helps becomes helped, feed becomes fed.

  2. Auxiliary verb ‘be’ (am, is are, was, were) is added before the past participle according to the tense of the verb.

  3. Generally ‘by’ is used before the object of the passive voice sentences.


Voice and Tenses

Present Tense

Active- I write a novel.

Passive-  A novel is written by me.

Structure- Subject + auxiliary verb + past participle of the main verb+ by + object.

Present Continuous

Active- I am eating breakfast.

Passive- The breakfast is being eaten by me.

Structure-  Subject + auxiliary verb + being + by + object

Present Perfect

Active- I have played the game.

Passive- A game has been played by me.

Structure- Subject + has/have been + past participle + by + object

Past Tense

Active- I invited you to the party.

Passive- You were invited by me to the party.

Structure- Subject+be+ past participle+by+ object

Questions 

Active- Did you show me the dress?

Passive- Was I shown the dress by you?

Past Continuous

Active- I was playing video games.

Passive- The video games were being played by me.

Structure-  Subject+auxiliary verb + being+ past participle + by +object

Past Perfect

Active- You had done the work.

Passive- The work had been done by you.

Structure- Subject+had+been+past participle + by + object

Future Tense

Active- He will play the match.

Passive- The match will be played 

Structure- Subject+will+be+past participle +by+object

Future Continuous

Active- We will be watching the match.

Passive- The match will be being watched by us.

Structure-  Subject+ Will be+ being+ past participle+by+ object

The more you practice the more you will understand the idea of changing active to passive and passive to active voice.

Pro tip- Whenever you want to change passive to active always look for the subject in the sentence.


Exercise

Change the active voice to passive

  1. People speak Hindi in India.

  2. My maid cleans all the rooms daily.

  3. We update our android app monthly.

  4. People see these mountains as the tallest in the country.

  5. A friend gave me this pullover.

  6. A famous writer wrote this story.

  7. A pat on my head and I woke up.

  8. Over 100 students took the exam.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the easier way to identify the Passive and Active voice in a sentence?

Ans- Generally,  the active voice makes your writing a little loud, more direct as the name suggests, more active. The subject does the action of the verb in the sentence. With the passive voice, the subject receives the action by the object or the performer of the sentence.

2. What is the Passive writing style?

Ans-  Passive voice transforms a sentence in which the subject is always receiving an action. In contrast, active voice transforms a sentence in which the subject performs an action. ... To change a sentence from passive to active voice, determine who or what performs the action, and use that person or thing as the subject of the sentence.