Now that you have built your concepts regarding the different basic components, we shall move onto some more advanced components of English grammar. Let us discuss about voice.

In order to understand voice you must be familiar with the answers to the following questions:

  1. What is a verb?
  2. What is meant by subject of a sentence?
  3. What is meant by object of a sentence?

What is voice?

The voice of a verb refers to the relationship that the action denoted by the verb has with the subject and/or object of the sentence. Voice can be of two typesActive and Passive.

What is active voice?

A verb is said to be in the active voice when:

-the entity which is doing the action denoted by the verb is the subject of the sentence, and

-the entity which is at the receiving end of the action is the object of the sentence.

Eg. She is reading the book.

This is an active sentence. Here ‘She’ is the subject of the sentence, ‘is reading’ is the verb of the sentence and ‘book’ is the object of the sentence. We see that ‘She’ is the entity who is doing the action of ‘reading’. ‘Book’ is the entity which is receiving the action of ‘reading’.

What is passive voice?

A verb is said to be in the passive voice when:

-the entity which is at the receiving end of the action denoted by the verb is the subject of the sentence, and

-the entity doing the action is either omitted or placed at the end of the sentence.

Eg. The dish was prepared by Jane.

This is a passive sentence. Here ‘The dish’ is the subject of the sentence, ‘was prepared’ is the verb of the sentence and ‘Jane’ is the entity who did the action of ‘preparing’. We see that ‘The dish’ is the entity on whom the action has been done.

Eg. The fence was repaired.

This is a passive sentence. Here ‘The fence’ is the subject of the sentence and ‘was repaired’ is the verb of the sentence. The entity which did the action of ‘repair’ has been omitted from this sentence. Note that ‘The fence’ is the entity on whom the action of ‘repair’ has been done.

How to change active voice to passive voice?

You can follow the following steps in order to convert an active sentence to a passive sentence.

(i) Move the object of the active sentence to the position of its subject,

(ii) Place the subject of the active sentence at the end of the sentence. Put it into a phrase beginning with the preposition ‘by’.

(iii) If necessary, add an appropriate form of the verb ‘be’ to the main verb.

Active and Passive Voice

Active and Passive Voice

How to change passive voice to active voice?

Follow these steps to change a passive sentence into an active sentence.

(i) Treat the subject of the passive sentence as its object.

(ii) Remove the preposition ‘by’ from the phrase containing the entity doing the action denoted by the verb. Treat it as the subject of the sentence.

(iii) As per need, remove the form of ‘be’ preceding the main verb and alter the form of the verb.

Let us study the variations in active and passive forms of the verb ‘teach’ in light of different tenses of the active verb.

Tense of active verb Form of active verb Form of passive verb
Simple Present teach/teaches is/are/am taught
Present Continuous is/are/am teaching is/are/am being taught
Present Perfect has/have taught has/have been taught
Simple Past taught was/were taught
Past Continuous was/were teaching was/were being taught
Past Perfect had taught had been taught
Simple Future will/shall teach will/shall be taught
Future Perfect will/shall have taught will have been taught

1 Response Comment

  • Helen K LeeJuly 3, 2017 at 8:59 am

    An useful grammatical article! I want to ask what verbs are not allowed to change into passive voice. Thanks!

    Reply

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