Active and Passive Voice with Examples

A verb is said to be in the Active Voice when the subject acts or performs the action. When the subject of the verb is acted upon or receives the action is called Passive Voice.

Standard use of Active Voice

  • Hari killed a snake.
  • Lata sings a song
  • Sohan is writing a letter.

In these  sentences, the objects ‘a snake‘, ‘a song‘, ‘a letter‘ are placed after the verbs ‘killed’, ‘sings’ and ‘is writing’. The subjects Hari, Lata and Sohan have been placed before the verbs to show that the action is performed  by the subjects. All these sentences are in Active Voice.

Standard use of Passive Voice

  • A snake was killed by Hari.
  • A song is sung by Lata.
  • A letter is being written by Sohan.

In these sentences, the subject ‘a snake’, ‘a song’, ‘a letter’ receive the action done by the objects ‘Hari’, ‘Lata’ and ‘Sohan’. So the verbs – was killed, is sung, is being written – are in Passive Voice.

Role of Transitive Verb in Active and Passive Voice:

There are two ways of expressing an action by using a transitive verb. Read the following sentences:

  1. John wrote a letter.
  2. A letter was written by John.

These two sentences have the same meaning. They are simply two different ways of saying the same things.

In sentence 1, the subject John is the does of the action, therefore, the verb wrote is said to be in the Active Voice.
In sentence 2, the subject  A letter is the receiver of the action. The verb was written is, therefore, said to be in the Passive Voice.

So we may say that a transitive verb may be used in (a) Active Voice (b) Passive Voice.

Note: It is the form of the verb in a sentence which shows whether the subject is the doer or the receiver of action.

Transformation from the Active Voice to the passive Voice

Steps to Changes the Voice:

  1. When a verb is Changed from the Active into the Passive Voice, the Object of the Active Verb becomes the Subject and vice versa.
    Note: Pronouns are changes as under:
    Subject                                            Object
    I             is changed into              me.
    We           is changed into              us.
    You          is changed into             you.
    He            is changed into            him.
    She            is changed into            her
    It               is changed into             it.
    They          is changed into          them.
  2. Changes the verb into Pst participle (III form). Put proper form of the verb ‘to be’ before it according to the tense of the main verb in Active Voice and the number (singular/plural) of the new subject.
    The Following table gives the form of the verb ‘love’ in Passive Voice in the various tenses.

    Tense Indefined Continuous Perfect
    Present is/am/are + III Form
    is loved
    am loved
    are loved
    is/am/are + being + III Form
    is being loved
    am being loved
    are being loved
    has/have + being + III Form
    has been loved
    have been loved
    Past was/were + III Form
    was loved
    were loved
    was/were + being + III Form
    was being loved
    were being loved
    had + been + III Form
    had been loved
    Future will/shall+ be + III Form
    will be loved
    shall be loved
    will/shall + have been + III Form
    will have been loved
    shall have been loved
  3. Tense of the verb is not changed. Only its form is changed.
  4. ‘By’ is used with the agent of action ( = doer of action) when it help o complete the sense.
  5. Such indefinite and vague subjects as ‘someone’, ‘some-body’, ‘everyone’, ‘they’, ‘people’ etc. are dropped.
    Read these sentences:

    1. Someone has broken this chair. (active)
    2. This chair has been broken (passive)
    3. People always admire this picture (active)
    4. This Picture is always admired (passive)

Examples of Active and Passive Voice

They say that you are a liar. (Active Voice)
It is said that you are a liar. (Passive Voice)

They say that virtue is its own reward. (Active Voice)
It is said that virtue is its own reward. (Passive Voice)

We hear that the police has arrested the robbers. (Active Voice)
It is heard that the police has arrested the robbers. (Passive Voice)

People say that honesty is the best policy. (Active Voice)
It is said that honesty is the best policy. (Passive Voice)

They say that she is witch. (Active Voice)
It is said that she is a witch. (Passive Voice)

The people lined the road. (Active Voice)
The road was lined with the people. (Passive Voice)

May I got out? (Active Voice)
Am I allowed to go out? (Passive Voice)

A pen is to write with. (Active Voice)
A pen is to be written with. (Passive Voice)

No one can wonder at it. (Active Voice)
It cannot be wondered at by any one. (Passive Voice)

I expected him to help me. (Active Voice)
I expected to be helped by him. (Passive Voice)

Someone has picked my pocket. (Active Voice)
My pocked has been picked. (Passive Voice)

God helps those who help themselves. (Active Voice)
Those who are helped by themselves are helped by God. (Passive Voice)

You must endure what you cannot cure. (Active Voice)
What cannot be cured must be endured. (Passive Voice)

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others. (Active Voice)
Stones should not be thrown at others by those who live in glass houses. (Passive Voice)

One ought to do one’s duty. (Active Voice)
Duty ought to be done. (Passive Voice)

He hopes to pass this year. (Active Voice)
It is hoped (by him) that he will pass this year. (Passive Voice)

I hope that the doctor will cure him. (Active Voice)
It is hoped that he will be cured by the doctor. (Passive Voice)

They say that truth is evergreen. (Active Voice)
It is said that truth is evergreen. (Passive Voice)

Our forces have defeated the enemy. (Active Voice)
The enemy has been defeated. (Passive Voice)

Let the dead past bury its dead. (Active Voice)
Let the dead be buried by dead past. (Passive Voice)


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