Active and Passive Voice with Examples: A Complete Guide on Tenses

Active and Passive Voice has been a very important chapter in English Grammar. You must have read Active and Passive Voice since the beginning. Have you ever thought what active and passive voice is? In grammar perspective, we know that it is very important but what is its importance in our day to day life?  Have you ever thought about it? For better understanding, we should relate the Grammar to our practical world. We should find out the use of active and passive voice in our life. Ok 

Let’s understand the important terms which we are going to use. They are Active voice and Passive voice. 

First, let us see how people define. See the definition given by Wikipedia. active and passive voice, wikipedia definition of voice As we see the type and explanation of active and passive voice according to Wikipedia. But that is not easy to understand. Isn’t it? Now, let me do my part of the job. There are two types of voice. 

  1. Active Voice
  2. Passive Voice

Let us have an Active and Passive Voice definition.

Active and Passive Voice Definition

You must have read an active voice and passive voice definition before. But before going ahead, let us have a look at the format of sentences. Do you know what is the format of sentences? See below-

SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT

John teaches English. (John is subject, teaches is verb/action word and English is an object) It consists of Subject, Verb and Object. In other words, we can say that there are doer, action words and object in most of the sentences. Mostly, the subject is the doer of the action in many sentences. For example-

John teaches English.

Here in the above sentence, John is the subject and doer in the sentence. But in some cases, the subject of the sentence is not the doer of the action word. See the example below-

English is taught by John.

Here in this sentence, English is the subject of the sentence but not the doer of the action word. The doer is John which is at the place of the object. So this sentence is different from the first sentence. To conclude, let us find the final active and passive voice definition.

Active Voice Definition

If the subject of a sentence is the doer of the verb, it is called Active Voice. For instance- Carol beats the thief. (Carol is the subject and the doer in the sentence.)

Passive Voice Definition

If the subject of a sentence is only the subject of the sentence, not the doer of the verb, it is called passive voice. For instance- The thief is beaten by Carol. (The thief is the subject only not the doer of the verb because the doer is Carol so it is a passive voice.) Now, let us find out some more active and passive voice differences to make it clear. Active Voice

  • The subject is the doer of the verb.
  • The forms of verbs differ in the sentences according to the tenses.
  • The subject is the hero of the sentence because it performs the action with the verbs.

Passive Voice

  • The subject is not the doer of the verb but the object is the doer in the sentence.
  • The forms of the verbs do not differ in the sentences but remain the same i.e. third form of the verb.
  • The object tries to become the hero but does not perform the action with the verbs.

Finally, you must be clear about the active and passive voice definition. Let’s go ahead now and clear the basic rules of Active and Passive voice. First, we need practice to identify active and passive voice sentences. For the same, do the quiz.

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Created on

Degree of comparison - 4

Questions - 5

1 / 5

Mussoorie is as healthy as any hill station in U.P.

2 / 5

England had the largest fleet in the world in 1918.

3 / 5

The man is one of the most dangerous animals.

4 / 5

America is the richest country in the world.

5 / 5

Australia is the largest island in the world.

Your score is

The average score is 6%

0%

Active and Passive Voice Formula: Basic Principles

There are some basic principles for active and passive voice conversion. They are below-

  1. First, a sentence changes into passive voice if it contains a transitive verb. If it contains an intransitive verb, it does not change into passive voice.
  2. Secondly, the subject should always be changed into an object and Similarily, the object should always be changed into the subject.

active and passive voice change formula If it bears pronoun, that changes according to the case below and ‘by’ is used before the object in the passive voice. active and passive voice, pronoun changes 3- Thirdly, the forms of the verb is always in the third form in the passive voice.

Active and Passive Voice Rules: Basic Level

You should start learning the rules with the Tenses. And for that, you should have the basic knowledge of Tenses. One more thing, if you learn the active and passive voice rules in details, you can not get it easily. On the other hand, if you try to study the rules with the chart below, it will make you easy to understand. You, therefore, should see the chart below You might think you are not going to read the rules in details. No, you will surely learn it but after it. active voice chart passive voice chart Now, you can get the rules with the help of the chart above. And you must have got there are only 8 tenses that can be changed into passive voice. The remaining 4 tenses are not changed into passive voice. You can see it in another way as well. See how helping verbs changes in tenses.

  • Do/Does change into Is/Am/Are.
  • Is/Am/Are change into Is being/Am being/Are being.
  • Has/ Have change into Has been/ Have been.
  • Did changes into Was being/ Were being?
  • Had changes into Had been.
  • Will/ Shall change into Will be/ Shall be.
  • Will have/ Shall have change into Will have been/ Shall have been.

The rest of the 4 tenses do not change into passive voice. They are –

  1. Future Continuous Tense,
  2. Present Perfect Continous Tense,
  3. Past Perfect Continous Tense
  4. Future Perfect Continuous Tense.

Let us go onto the next step i.e. explaining the rules in details.

Basic Rules Active and Passive Voice in Details

Now see the rules in details.

Passive Voice of Present Indefinite Tense

If the active voice is in present indefinite tense and ‘s/es form of verbs/do/does’ is used, you should use ‘is/am/are’ in the passive voice. See the examples below. For instance, He writes a letter. (s/es forms of verbs – present indefinite tense) Make an effort to change the following into passive voice. First, take the subject (he) to the object place (a letter). He writes a letter. ………………………..him. (in the objective case) Then, take the object (A letter) to the subject place. He writes a letter. A letter…………………..him. Then, place ‘by’ before the object. He writes a letter. A letter…………………..by him. Then, let us work on helping verb. Since the sentence is in the present indefinite tense, you should use ‘is/am/are’. ‘A letter’ is singular in number so you should use ‘is’ He writes a letter. A letter is ………….. by him. Now, it’s time to work on the action word ‘write’. As I already mentioned that in the passive voice, you should always use 3rd forms of verbs. He writes a letter. A letter is written by letter. Well done! you have changed the active voice in to passive voice. That’s it. You won the battle. The same goes in all the tenses.

Click here for more Exercises of Present Indefinite Tense

Passive Voice of Present Continuous Tense

If the active voice is in a present continuous tense and the helping verbs ‘is/am/are’ is used, you should use ‘is being/ am being/ are being’ in the passive voice. For example, Sam is Playing football. Football is being played by Sam.

Click here for more Exercises of Present Indefinite Tense

Passive Voice of Present Perfect Tense

If the active voice is in the present perfect tense and the helping verbs ‘has/have’ is used, you should use ‘has been/ have been’ in the passive voice. For example, I have taught him grammar. Grammar has been taught to him by me. Or He has been taught grammar by me. Note: If there are two objects in the sentence, any of them can be used while making passive voice. Try to understand with the above example. There are two objects: grammar and him. You can use either grammar as a subject or him as a subject. Both the sentences are right.

Click for Exercises

Passive Voice of Past Indefinite Tense

If the active voice is in the past indefinite tense and ‘2nd forms of verbs/ did’ is used, you should use ‘was/ were’ in the passive voice. For example, Ram wasted time. Time was wasted by Ram.

Click for Exercises

Passive Voice of Past Continuous Tense

If the active voice is in the past continuous tense and ‘was/were’ is used, you should use ‘was being/were being’ in the passive voice. For example, She was taking a bath early in the morning. A bath was being taken by her early in the morning.

Click for Exercises

Passive Voice of Past Perfect Tense

If the active voice is in the past perfect tense and ‘had’ is used, you should use ‘had been’ in the passive voice. For instance. Carol had completed her writings. Her writings had been completed by Carol.

Click for Exercises

Passive Voice of Future Indefinite Tense

If the active voice is in the future indefinite tense and ‘will/shall’ is used, you should use ‘will be/shall be’ in the passive voice. For example. You will take medicine daily. Medicine will be taken daily by you.

Click for Exercises

Passive Voice of Future Perfect Tense

If the active voice is in the future continuous tense and ‘will have/shall have’ is used, you should use ‘will have been/shall have been’ in the passive voice. For example. He will have finished work tomorrow. Work will have been finished tomorrow by him.

Click for Exercises

And as I mentioned above, the 4 tenses like the present perfect continuous tense, the past perfect continuous tense, the future perfect continuous tense and the future continuous tense do not change into passive voice. Do the quiz given below for Tense practice.

Active and Passive Voice Rules with Examples – Modals and Imperative

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