Active Voice and Passive Voice

Active Voice and Passive Voice1

 

Active Voice and Passive Voice:

 

Introduction:

Active Voice and Passive Voice is an important element in English Grammar. Voice refers to the form of a verb that indicates whether the subject does the action or is the receiver of the action. When the subject performs the action, the sentence is in the active voice, and when the subject receives the action, it is in the passive voice. 

 

What is Active Voice and Passive Voice:

A transitive verb, which takes an object can be classified into two voices – Active Voice and Passive Voice.

 

Active Voice:  

When the subject (doer) of the sentence does the action, we call it an Active Voice. The doer or agent of the action is active in this sentence. It tells what a person or thing does.

 

Active

Passive Voice: 

When the subject (doer) of the sentence is acted upon, we call it a Passive Voice. The doer or agent of the action becomes passive in this sentence. It tells what is done to a person or thing.

passive

When do we use Active Voice and Passive Voice:

 Active Voice: 

When the subject (doer) is given the importance we use active voice.  Here who does the action is more important than what is done.

Examples:

  • Komal has made all these arrangements. 
  • The Hindu published these articles.
  • The Chairman is attending the meeting. 

 

Passive Voice: 

When the action or the recipient of the action is more important rather than who performed the action, we use the Passive Voice.

Examples:

  • The results were announced.
  • Several people have been killed in the earthquake.
  • All the certificates will be issued to the students within two weeks.

 

Steps to change the Active Voice to Passive Voice:

  • Identify whether the verb in the sentence is transitive or intransitive.
  • Only transitive verbs take objects and can be written in the passive voice.
  • Identify the subject, the verb and the object in a sentence.
  • Interchange the places of the subject and the object.
  • Identify the tense of the verb and use the suitable ‘be’ form and V3 (Past Participle) in the passive voice.
  • We use prepositions like by, with or to in passive voice.
  • When there are two objects in a sentence, two passive sentences can be written with two objects.
  • All Perfect Continuous Tenses and Future Continuous Tense cannot be changed into passive voice.
  • We don’t generally mention by+the agent at the end of the sentence in the passive voice:
    • When the agent is unknown, (like somebody, nobody, etc.,)
    • When the agent is easy to understand, (like, police, court, people etc.,)
    • When the agent is unimportant
  • All the modal verbs (can, could, shall, should, will, would, must, have to, had to, has to, need to, ought to) take Be + Past Participle form in Passive Voice.

Active Voice and Passive Voice Rules: (Formula)

Tense Active Voice  Passive Voice 
Present Simple play/plays am, is, are + played 
Present Continuous am, is, are + playing am, is, are + being + played
Present Perfect have/has + played have/has + been + played
Present  Perfect Continuous have/has + been + playing No Passive Voice
Past Simple played was, were + played
Past Continuous was, were + playing was, were + being + played
Past Perfect had + played had + been + played
Past Perfect Continuous had + been + playing No Passive Voice
Future Simple  shall/will + play shall/will + be + played
Future Continuous shall/will + playing No Passive Voice
Future Perfect shall/will + have + been shall/will + have + been+played
Future Perfect Continuous shall/ will + have + been + playing No Passive Voice

Change of Pronouns subjective to objective:

Subjective Pronoun Objective Pronoun
I me
we us
you you
he him
she her
it it 
they them

Active Voice and Passive Voice in Tenses:

Active Voice and Passive Voice

Conversion of the Voice: Tense-Wise:

Present Simple Tense:

Examples:

AV: I write poems. (A.V.)

PV: Poems are written by me. (P.V.)

 

AV: We do not learn English grammar.

PV: English grammar is not learnt by us.

 

Present Continuous Tense:

Examples:

AV: She is milking the cow.

PV: The cow is being milked by her.

 

AV: The boys are not playing cricket

PV: Cricket is not being played by the boys.

 

Present Perfect Tense:

Examples:

AV: She has seen it several times.

PV: It has been seen by her several times. 

 

AV: Leela has not punished her husband.

PV: Her husband has not been punished by Leela.

 

Past Simple Tense:

Examples:

AV: He wrote many poems.

PV: Many poems were written by him.

 

AV: I did not understand the voice.

PV: The voice was not understood by me.

 

Past Continuous Tense:

AV: She was practicing karate.

Karate was being practiced by her.

 

AV: My friend was not forcing them to do it.

PV: They were not being forced to do it by my friend.

 

Past Perfect Tense:

Examples:

AV: He had made several mistakes.

PV: Several mistakes had been made by him.

 

AV: Vicky had not composed pop songs in German.

PV: Pop songs in German had not been composed by Vicky. 

 

Future Simple Tense:

Examples:

AV: They will accompany you.

PV: You will be accompanied by them,

 

AV: I shall not ask you that again.

PV: You will not be asked that again by me.

 

Future Perfect Tense:

Examples:

AV: He will have saved some amount by next year.

PV: By next year, some amount will have been saved by him.

 

AV: I shall not have studied all the books.

PV: All the books will not have been studied by me.

 

Points to focus:1

The Verbs with two objects:

Some transitive verbs may have two objects. In such cases, one is called the direct object and the other one is called the indirect object.

 

 How to find direct and indirect objects:

 For example:

She gave me a flower.

she gave…… what?               a flower   (Direct Object)

she gave……. to whom?      to me       (Indirect Object)

 

How to write this sentence in the passive voice:

AV: She gave me a flower.

PV: A flower was given to me by her. (Passive Voice with Direct Object)

PV: I was given a flower by her.          (Passive Voice with Indirect Object)

 

More examples with two objects:

AV: Mr. Reddy taught us English.

PV: English was taught to us by Mr. Reddy. (D.O.)

PV: We were taught English by Mr. Reddy. (I.O.)

 

AV: My father has sent me some money.

PV: Some money has been sent to me by my father.

PV: I have been sent some money by my father.

 

AV: She offered her friend a cup of coffee.

PV: A cup of coffee was offered to me by her.

PV: I was offered a cup of coffee by her.

 

Points to focus:2

The agent is not needed in the Passive Voice:

When the agent is unknown: (somebody, nobody  etc.,)

Examples:

AV: Somebody has picked my purse. 

PV: My purse has been picked. (by somebody)

 

AV: Nobody can beat him at tennis.

PV: He cannot be beaten at tennis. (by anybody)

 

When the agent is easy to understand: (police, court, people, we etc.,)

Examples:

AV: We expect good news.

PV: Good news is expected.

 

AV: We prohibit smoking.

PV: Smoking is prohibited.

 

AV: The police arrested the thief.

PV: The thief was arrested. (by the police)

 

AV: People speak English all over the world.

PV: English is spoken all over the world. (by people)

 

AV: The court has acquitted the accused for lack of evidence.

PV: The accused has been acquitted for lack of evidence. (by the court)

 

AV: People believe that there are ghosts in this building.

PV: It is believed that there are ghosts in this building.

 

When the agent is unimportant:

Examples:

PV: The message was sent to them. (who sent the message is not important)

PV: He has been taken to hospital. (who took him to the hospital is not important)

 

Points to focus:3

The prepositions with the verbs:

(Laugh at, listen to, looks after, break into, speak to, put out etc., these prepositions will not change their position.)

 

Examples:

AV: She listens to music.

PV: Music is listened to by her.

 

AV: We should not laugh at the poor.

PV: The poor should not be laughed at.

 

AV: They are looking after the office well.

PV: The office is being looked after by them.

 

AV: They broke into the grocery shop.

PV: The grocery shop was broken into by them.

 

AV: Somebody has put out the light. 

PV: The light has been put out.

 

AV: The teacher is speaking to her students.

PV: Her students are being spoken to by the teacher.

 

Points to focus:4

Use of other prepositions instead of ‘By’

to known, married, obliged, etc., 
in interested, absorbed etc., 
when smell, taste, feel etc., 
at surprised, shocked, alarmed, disappointed etc.,
with pleased, disgusted, impressed satisfied, etc.,

Examples:

AV: I know the Prime Minister.

PV: The Prime Minister is known to me. 

 

AV: This programme may interest everyone.

PV: Everyone may be interested in this programme.

 

AV: The results shocked me. 

PV: I was shocked at the results.

 

AV: Sugar tastes sweet.

PV: Sugar is sweet when tasted.

 

AV: Her work has not satisfied me. 

PV: I have not been satisfied with her work.

 

AV: Their arrangements will definitely please the Minister.

PV: The Minister will definitely be pleased with their arrangements.

The Voice in Declarative Sentences:

Examples:

AV: Ricky broke the remote.

PV: The remote was broken by Ricky.

 

AV: They paid the fee on time.

PV: The fee was paid on time by them.

 

AV: We have not announced the prizes of the recent games.

PV: The prizes of the recent games have not been announced. by us

 

AV: Snehith got the first rank.

PV: The first rank has been got by Snehith.

 

AV: I have not taken the food as I am ill.

PV: As I am ill, the food has not been taken by me.

 

AV: We are learning English grammar.

PV: English grammar is being length by us.

 

AV: He is following her.

PV: She is being followed by him.

 

AV: He is teaching English and Maths.

PV: English and Maths are being taught by him.

 

AV: My friend will have attended the class.

PV: The class will have been attended by my friend.

 

AV: We don’t allow them to sell radios here.

PV: They are not allowed to sell radios here.

 

AV: He does not read two newspapers daily.

PV: Two newspapers are not read by him daily.

 

AV: The teacher will explain the lesson.

PV: The lesson will be explained by the teacher.

 

AV: They will not learn a new language.

PV: A new language will not be learnt by them.

 

AV: She is driving the car.

PV: The car is being driven by her.

 

AV: Shivani has really sung a melodious song.

PV: A melodious song has really been sung by Shivani.

 

AV: People speak English all over the world.

PV: English is spoken all over the world. (by  people)

 

AV: I can lift the box.

PV: The box can be lifted by me.

 

AV: We must not take these books away.

PV: These books must not be taken away. (by us)

 

AV: I like this song very much.

PV: This song is liked very much by me.

 

AV: One should keep one’s promises.

PV: One’s promises should be kept. (by one)

 

AV: The cat drank all the milk.

PV: All the milk was drunk by the cat.

 

AV: I know the Prime Minister.

PV: The Prime Minister is known to me.

 

AV: We do not know the future.

PV: The future is not known to me.

 

AV: The doctor has to examine you again.

PV: You have to be examined by the doctor.

 

AV: No one can answer my question.

PV: My question cannot be answered.

 

AV: No one can beat my brother at tennis.

PV: My brother can never be beaten at tennis.

 

AV: He will certainly help me.

PV: I shall certainly be helped by her.

 

AV: I did not see the film.

PV: The film was not seen by me.

 

AV: Middlemen misused the farmers’ rights.

PV: The farmers’ rights were misused by the middlemen.

 

AV: The farmers can sell their products anywhere else.

PV: Their products can be sold anywhere else by the farmers.

 

The Voice in Interrogative Sentences:(Questions)

With the helping verbs:

Examples:

AV: Have you done your work?

PV: Has your work been done by you?

 

AV: Will you write a letter immediately?

PV: Will a letter be written immediately by you?

 

AV: Can you lift this heavy box?

PV: Can this heavy box be lifted by you?

 

AV: Has he informed you about this?

PV: Have you been informed about this by him?

 

AV: Do you see English films?

PV: Are English films seen by you?

 

AV: Did you finish work?

PV: Was the work finished by you?

 

AV: Does she play chess?

PV: Is chess played by her? 

 

AV: Is he collecting the stamps?

PV: Are the stamps being collected by him?

 

AV: Will you have finished your work by Saturday.

PV: Will your work have been finished by Saturday by you?

 

AV: Can they arrange a meeting with the commanders?

PV: Can a meeting with the commanders be arranged by them?

 

AV: Could you inform my friend about this immediately?

PV: Could my friend be informed about this immediately by you?

 

AV: Can I interrupt you for an important matter?

PV: Can you be interrupted for an important matter by me?

 

With the interrogative words:

Examples:

AV: Who wrote this novel?

PV: By whom was this novel written?  

 

AV: Who drove the bikes?

PV: By whom were the bikes driven? 

 

AV: Who opened the boxes?

PV: By whom have the boxes been opened?

 

AV: Who taught you English?

PV: By whom was English taught to you? (Direct Object)

PV: By whom were you taught English? (Indirect Object) (or)

PV: Who were you taught English by? (Indirect Object)

 

AV: Who gave her the letter?

PV: By whom was the letter given to her? (Direct Object)

PV: By whom was she given a letter? (Indirect Object) (or)

PV: Who was she given a letter by? (Indirect Object)

 

AV: Who can buy that vehicle?

PV: By whom can that vehicle be bought?

 

AV: Why don’t you call the police?

PV: Why aren’t the police called by you?

 

AV: How do you appreciate her after this work?

PV: How is she appreciated after this work by you?

 

AV: Why did the party suspend four MPs suddenly?

PV: Why were four MPs suddenly suspended by the party?

 

AV: What information have you given him?

PV: What information has he been given by you?

 

AV: How do you solve this difficult problem?

PV: How is this difficult problem solved by you?

 

AV: Why are they interrogating the top stars in Bollywood?

PV: Why are the top stars in Bollywood being interrogated?

 

AV: Why did you explain the problem in such a way?

PV: Why was the problem explained in such a way by you?

 

The Voice in Imperative Sentences: (requests, advice, commands)

Examples:

AV: Please, open the door.

PV: You are requested to open the door.

 

AV: Please, help the poor.

PV: You are requested to help the poor.

 

AV: Don’t smoke cigarettes here.

PV: You are ordered not to smoke cigarettes here.

 

AV: Study medicine.

PV: You are advised to study medicine.

 

AV: They have a bill to pay.

PV: They have a bill to be paid.

 

AV: Don’t follow me.

PV: You are ordered not to follow me. (or)

PV: Let me be not followed. 

 

AV: Pay the fee.

PV: Let the fee be paid.

 

AV: Finish your work first.

PV: Let your work be finished first.

 

AV: Don’t waste your time.

PV: Let your time be not wasted.

 

AV: Help your students.

PV: Let your students be helped.

 

AV: Kill the snake.

PV: Let the snake be killed.

 

AV: Drive your bike slowly.

PV: Let your bike be driven slowly.

 

AV: Change the voice.

PV: Let the voice be changed.

 

AV: See the picture.

PV: Let the picture be seen.

 

The use of Let:

  • In the sense of allowing/permitting:  Ex. Let me go! 
  • In the sense of suggesting or agreeing: Ex. Let’s go! or Let’s get started!
  • In the sense of a wish,  as optative: Ex. Let us help him.

 

In the first two examples, the Passive Voice is not possible.

In the third example, the Passive Voice is possible but rare. It may be treated as a declarative sentence. Some examples have been given below.

Examples:

AV: Let her solve the problem.

PV: Let the problem be solved by her.

 

AV: Let us help him.

PV: Let him be helped by us.

 

AV: Let him drive the bike.

PV: Let the bike be driven by him.

 

AV: Let the children play games.

PV: Let games be played by the children.

 

AV: Let her purchase a new car.

PV: Let a new car be purchased by her.

 

AV: Let them follow the steps.

PV: Let the steps be followed by them.

 

‘Use of Let’ – in Declarative type of sentences:

Examples:

AV: She does not let the kid play this game.

PV: The kid is not let play this game by her.

 

AV: They can let me watch TV.

PV: I can be let watch TV.

 

AV: Why don’t you let me drink coffee?

PV: Why am I not let drink coffee by you?

 

AV: They will not let me do it.

PV: I shall not be let do it by them.

 

AV: My friend is not letting her participate in Bigg Boss 4.

PV: She is not being let participate in Bigg Boss 4 by my friend.


To- Infinitive:

Examples:

AV: They are to finish their lunch.

PV: Their lunch is to be finished by them.

 

AV: I am to visit my friends. 

PV: My friends are to be visited by me.

 

AV: Venkat is to draw the amount from the bank. 

PV: The amount is to be drawn from the bank by Venkat. 

 

AV: The officials have to take proper steps. 

PV: Proper steps have to be taken by the Officials.

 

AV: She has to finish her homework. 

PV: Her homework has to be finished.  

 

Modal Verbs in Passive Voice:

(can, could, shall, should, will, would, must, have to, had to, has to, need to, ought to

 

Examples:

AV: The boys can select any game.

PV: Any game can be selected by the boys.

 

AV: You should not punish the children.

PV: The children should not be punished.

 

AV: They have to watch these interesting movies.

PV: These interesting movies have to be watched by them.

 

AV: You must follow the COVID rules to conduct a meeting.

PV: The COVID rules must be followed to conduct a meeting. (by you)

 

AV: He may attend the function tomorrow.

PV: The function may be attended tomorrow by him.

 

AV: You should not blame others for your misfortune.

PV: Others should not be blamed for your misfortune.

 

AV: I can ask the principal to help him.

PV: The principal can be asked to help him by me.

 

AV: He could not ask her to join the party.

PV: She could not be asked to join the party by him.

 

AV: You must visit this place to take care of the people.

PV: This place must be visited to take care of the people by you.

 

Also Read:

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs: