Active and Passive Voice

Definition of Active and Passive Voice

Active and Passive Voices are the two ways of expressing an action taken by a subject on an object.  Meaning of the sentence either in active or passive voice doesn’t change except few structural changes. Kindly go through the below example-

Active Voice- I draw a sketch.

Active Voice is the most direct and effective way to convey the information. It a simply starts with the Subject (in this case ‘I’who performs the action) followed by the Verb (action)-‘draw’ and then the Object (on whom the action is performed)-sketch. Active Voice is expressed in the simple form of – Subject + Action (Verb) + Object.

Now go through the Passive Voice of the above Active Voice statement.

Passive Voice- A sketch is drawn by me.

Passive Voice conveys the same message as in Active Voice, but it does it in an indirect way. In the Passive Voice the subject becomes “Passive” and the Object gets the prominence. Like in the above Passive Sentence the subject ‘me’ is being acted upon by the object.

The meaning of both of the above sentences remains same and they have only structural differences. It’s better to know the rules and Formulae for both Active and Passive Voices, by going through Examples and Exercises.

Structural Formula for Active and Passive Voice

For the purpose of deriving a Structural formula for Active and Passive voice, we will study one example sentence in both the voices, written below-

Active Voice- I write a letter.

Passive Voice- A letter is written by me.

First analyze the ‘Active Voice’ statement: “I write a letter” - ‘I’ is the subject, the verb is ‘write’ and the object is ‘letter’.

Therefore, the Structural Formula for Active Voice Statement can be written as- Subject + Verb + Object

Moving on to the Passive statement: “A letter is written by me” - we realize that the Object appears first followed by the Verb and Subject respectively. Therefore, the structural formula for Passive Voice can be given as- Object + Verb + Subject.

Some more Example Sentences of Active and Passive Voices:

ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
I ride a horse A horse is ridden by me
I eat a pizza A pizza is eaten by me
He wrote a letter A letter was written by him
She wore a suit A suit was worn by her
They called the police The Police was called by them

How to Identify Active/Passive Voices

By knowing the order in which the Subject, Verb and Object are placed in a sentence, we can tell whether the sentence is Active or Passive. The rule for placement of subject, Verb and Object in both Active and Passive voice are given below.

 

Structural Formula For Active Voice-

  • Subject + Verb + Object

Structural Formula For Passive Voice-

  • Object + Verb + Subject

Therefore an Active Voice statement always begins with the Subject, followed by the verb and the Object respectively. On the contrary a Passive Voice statement begins with the Object, followed by the verb and then the Subject at last.

In the further explanations we will go through the rules of writing Active/Passive Voices and also converting Active Voice to Passive Voice and vice versa.

Active to Passive Voice Rules/Charts for Different Tenses

Rules To Convert Active To Passive Voice and Vice Versa:

For changing a sentence from Active voice to Passive voice common Structural Changes are applied as explained above. The verb forms to be chosen for different Tenses are explained below with Examples-

1) Simple Present Tense

When an Active voice in simple Present Tense is converted into Passive Voice; the verb is changed into past participle form complemented with the Auxiliary Verbs – is, are, am.

TENSE ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE VERB FORM: First Form /Base Form VERB FORM: is/am/are + Past Participle (Third Form)
I write a letter A letter is written by me
She speaks French French is spoken by her
He does not drink coffee Coffee is not drunk by him
Does she play chess? Is chess played by her?
They leave me I am left by them

Pronouns I, she, he, they are changed to me, her, him and them respectively, while converting to Passive Voices.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on Active/Passive Voices with Answers

Identify whether the following sentences are Active or Passive and convert to other forms accordingly.

1) I stop the car.

2) He spread the cheese.

3) The pillow is squeezed by them.

4) Dogs are fed by her.

5) He starts the generator.

Answers-

1) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The car is stopped by me.

2) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The cheese is spread by me

3) The statement is in Passive Voice

Active Voice- They squeeze the pillow.

4) The statement is in Passive Voice

Active Voice- She feeds the dogs

5) Statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The generator is started by them.

 

 

2) Present Continuous Tense

TENSE ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE VERB FORM: is/am/are + ing form of the Verb VERB FORM: is/am/are + being + Past Participle (third form) of the Verb
I am writing a letter A letter is being written by me
She is cooking the dinner The dinner is being cooked by her
They are not playing football Football is not being played by them
He is riding a horse A horse is being ridden by him
They are buying a car A car is being bought by them

Pronouns I, she, he, they are changed to me, her, him and them respectively, while converting to Passive Voices.  For changing from Active to Passive ‘ing’ form of verb is replaced by the Past Participle form and the reverse is applied when changing Passive Voice into Active voice.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities On Active/Passive Voices With Answers:

Identify whether the following sentences are Active or Passive and convert to other forms accordingly.

1) Doctor is sterilizing the equipments.

2) The car is being started by him.

3) He is digging a pit.

4) They are stitching the tent.

5) The books are being submitted by her.

Answers-

1) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The equipments are being sterilized by the doctor.

2) The statement is in Passive Voice

Active Voice- He is starting the car.

3) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- A pit is being dug by him.

4) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- A tent is being stitched by them.

5) The statement is in Passive Voice

Active Voice- She is submitting the books

3) Present Perfect Tense

TENSE ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
PRESENT PERFECT TENSE VERB FORM: has/have + Past Participle form of the Verb VERB FORM: has/have + been + Past Participle form of the Verb
I have eaten a pie A pie has been eaten by me
He has written a letter A letter has been written by him
They have lifted up the car A car has been lifted up by them
He has written two books Two books have been written by him
They have bought two cars Two cars have been bought by them

The same rule applies to the Pronouns- I, she, he, they are changed to me, her, him and them respectively, while converting to Passive Voices or the reverse while converting from Passive to Active. Active Voices in Present Perfect Tense have Past Participle form of the verb which is changed to Past Participle while converting to Passive Voices. The reverse is applied while converting from Passive Voice to Active Voice.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities On Active/Passive Voices With Answers:

Identify whether the following sentences are Active or Passive and convert to other forms accordingly.

1) They have stirred the emotions.

2) He has written a letter.

3) We have studied the subject.

4) The pack has been subscribed by her.

5) The fields have been swept by flood.

Answers-

1) The statement is in Active voice.

Passive Voice- The emotions have been stirred by them

2) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- A letter has been written by him

3) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The subject has been studied by us.

4) The statement is Passive Voice

Active Voice- She has subscribed the pack

5) The statement is in Passive Voice

Active Voice- The flood has swept the fields

4) Simple Past Tense

TENSE ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
SIMPLE PAST TENSE VERB FORM: Past Tense Form (Second Form) of the verb VERB FORM: was/were +  Past Participle form of the Verb
I ate a burger A burger was eaten by me
They built a house A house was built by them
They bought two cats Two cats were bought  by them
She wrote two letters Two letters were written by her
I decorated the stage The stage was decorated by me

The same rule applies to the Pronouns- I, she, he, they and we are changed to me, her, him them and us respectively, while converting to Passive Voices or the reverse while converting from Passive to Active. Active Voices in Simple Past Tense have Past form (second form) of the verb which is changed to Past Participle while converting to Passive Voices. The reverse is applied while converting from Passive Voice to Active Voice.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on Active/Passive Voices with Answers:

Identify whether the following sentences are Active or Passive and convert to other forms accordingly.

1) She took the pen.

2) The prefect was sworn by the principal.

3) The samples were tasted by members.

4) People were taxed by the authorities.

5) We threw a party.

Answers-

1) The statement is Active Voice.

Passive Voice- The pen was taken by her

2) The statement is in Passive voice

Active Voice- The principal swore the prefect.

3) The statement is in Passive Voice

Active Voice- Members tasted the samples

4) The statement is in Passive Voice.

Active Voice- The authorities taxed people.

5) The statement is in Active voice

Passive Voice- A party was thrown by us

5) Past Continuous Tense

TENSE ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE VERB FORM: Was/were + ing form of the verb VERB FORM: was/were +  being + Past Participle form of the Verb
I was eating a burger A burger was being eaten by me
He was riding a bike A bike was being ridden by him
She was feeding the cats The cats were being fed by her
They were cleaning the utensils The utensils were being cleaned by them
I was filling a pitcher The pitcher was being filled by me

The same rule applies to the Pronouns- I, she, he, they and we are changed to me, her, him them and us respectively, while converting to Passive Voices, or the reverse is applied while converting from Passive to Active. Active Voices in Past Continuous Tense have ‘ing’ form of the verb which is changed to Past Participle (preceded by ‘being’) while converting to Passive Voices. The reverse is applied while converting from Passive Voice to Active Voice.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on Active/Passive Voices with Answers:

Identify whether the following sentences are Active or Passive and convert to other forms accordingly.

1) I was playing a guitar.

2) A ball was being thrown by him.

3) They were sweeping the floor.

4) A story was being told by him.

5) We were trying to escape.

Answers-

1) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- A guitar was being played by me.

2) The statement is in Passive Voice.

Active Voice- He was throwing a ball.

3) The statement is in Active Voice.

Passive Voice- The floor was being swept by them

4) The statement is in Passive Voice

Active Voice- He was telling a story

5) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- An escape was being tried by us.

6) Past Perfect Tense

TENSE ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
PAST PERFECT TENSE VERB FORM: had + Past Participle Form of the Verb VERB FORM: had been+ Past Participle form of the Verb
I had written a letter A letter had been written by me
She had not read the book The book had not been read by her
They had visited the church The church had been visited by them
They had collected the money The money had been collected by them
I had purchased a book A book had been purchased by me

Here also the same rules applies to the Pronouns- I, she, he, they and we are changed to me, her, him them and us respectively, while converting to Passive Voices, or the reverse is applied while converting from Passive to Active. Active Voices in Past Perfect Tense have Past Participle (third form) form of the verb which remains the same i.e. Past Participle but preceded by “had been” while converting to Passive Voices. While converting from Passive Voices to Active Voices ‘been’ is omitted and the verb form remains the same.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on Active/Passive Voices with Answers:

Identify whether the following sentences are Active or Passive and convert to other forms accordingly.

1) I had transferred the powers.

2) She had touched the flower.

3) We had trapped the animal.

4) The book had been valued by him.

5) The claim had been verified by the officer.

Answers-

1) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The powers had been transferred by me.

2) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The flower had been touched by her.

3) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The animal had been trapped by us

4) The statement is Passive

Active Voice- He had valued the book

5) The statement is Passive

Active Voice- The officer had verified the claim

7) Future Simple Tense

TENSE ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
FUTURE SIMPLE TENSE VERB FORM: will/shall + first form of the verb VERB FORM: will/shall + be + Past Participle form of the Verb
He will announce holiday Holiday will be announced by him
We shall write a letter A letter shall be written by us
They will watch a movie A movie will be watched by them
She will sing a song A song will be sung by her
It shall improve your health You health shall be improved by it

Here also the same rules applies to the Pronouns- I, she, he, they and we are changed to me, her, him them and us respectively, while converting to Passive Voices, or the reverse is applied while converting from Passive to Active. Active Voices in Future Simple Tense have First form of the verb which is changed to Past Participle (preceded by ‘be’) form while converting to Passive Voices. The helping verb ‘be’ is omitted while converting to Active Voice from Passive Voice.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities on Active/Passive Voices with Answers:

Identify whether the following sentences are Active or Passive and convert to other forms accordingly.

1) I shall type a letter.

2) He will view the proceedings.

3) They will violate the rules.

4) The students shall be warned by the teachers.

5) Money will be wasted by them.

Answers-

1) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- A letter shall be typed by me

2) The statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The proceedings will be viewed by him.

3) They statement is Active Voice

Passive Voice-The rules will be violated by them

4) The statement is Passive Voice

Active Voice- The teachers will warn the students

5) The statement is Passive Voice

Active Voice- They will waste the money

8) Future Perfect Tense

TENSE ACTIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
FUTURE PERFECT TENSE VERB FORM: will/shall + have + Past Participle Form of the verb VERB FORM: will/shall + have been  + Past Participle form of the Verb
I will have hired a cab A cab will have been hired by me
She will have written a letter A letter will have been written by them
You shall have received Doctorate Doctorate shall have been received by you
They will not have eaten the dinner The dinner will have not been eaten by them
She will have answered the questions The questions will have been answered by her

Here also the same rules applies to the Pronouns- I, she, he, they and we are changed to me, her, him them and us respectively, while converting to Passive Voices, or the reverse is applied while converting from Passive to Active. Active Voices in Future Perfect Tense have Past Participle form of the verb which remains same i.e. Past Participle form while converting to Passive Voices; with only difference that ‘have’ in Active Voice is replaced by ‘have been’ in Passive voice. While converting from Passive Voice in Future Perfect, ‘been’ is omitted keeping the verb form unchanged.

Exercises/Worksheets/Activities On Active/Passive Voices With Answers:

Identify whether the following sentences are Active or Passive and convert to other forms accordingly.

1) I will have watched the match.

2) The plants shall have been watered by me.

3) She will have called her mother.

4) The proposal will have been withdrawn by them.

5) They will have uprooted the tree

Answers-

1) The statement is Active Voice

Passive Voice- The match will have been watched by me.

2) The statement is Passive Voice

Active Voice- I shall have watered the plants

3) The statement is Active voice

Passive Voice- Her mother will have been called by her.

4) The statement is in Passive Voice

Active Voice- They will have withdrawn the proposal.

5) They statement is in Active Voice

Passive Voice- The tree will have been uprooted by them.

Active Voice Statements That Cannot Be Converted Into Passive Voice

Active Voice statements expressed in the following tenses can’t be converted into Passive voice-

1) Present Perfect Continuous (or Progressive) Tense

Active Voice statements which are in Present Perfect Continuous form cannot be converted into Passive Voices. For Ex-

  • He has been working in the factory for two years.
  • She has been living here since 2015.
  • They have been changing home for five months.

Above sentences are Active voice as they are written in the order Subject + Verb + Object; but they can’t be converted into Passive Voice. The sentences don’t allow ant possibility of beginning with the object. Let’s try some-

  • In the factory he has been working for two years. (Incorrect)
  • Living here she has been since 2015. (Incorrect)
  • Changing home they have been for five months. (Incorrect)

All the above sentences are incorrect and there is no other formation that could be correct, even if the verb form is changed.

2) Past Perfect Continuous (or Progressive) Tense

Active Voices in Past Perfect Continuous form can also not be expressed in Passive Voices. We will go through the following Active Voices in Past Perfect Continuous Tense-

  • He had been studying for five hours.
  • She had been living in that house since 2010.
  • I had been dining here for three years.

The above sentences cannot be converted into Passive voice.

3) Future Perfect Continuous (or Progressive) Tense

The following Active Voices in Future Perfect Continuous can also not be converted into Passive Voices-

  • She will have been studying here for two years.
  • We will have been dining here since 2014.
  • You will have been using my car for six months.

4) Future Continuous (or Progressive) Tense

Active Voices in Future Continuous Tense cannot be converted into Passive Voices. Go through the following example sentences in Future Continuous Tense-

  • He will be reading a book tomorrow.
  • They will be playing football tomorrow.
  • She will be planning her marriage next year.

Above sentences cannot be converted into Passive Voices.

5) Sentences With Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive Verbs sentences cannot be transformed into Passive Voices. For Ex-

  • I am sleeping.
  • He was walking.
  • They are lying.

The above sentences cannot be transformed into Passive Voices.