Active and Passive Voice-Meaning
The verb in a sentence can be used in two “voices,” called the active and the Passive Voice.
For instance, examine the following two sentences.
- Ahmad plays tennis.
- Tennis is played by Ahmad.
Both these sentences express the same thing. That is, the meaning is the same, just the expression is different.
In the first sentence, the person, i.e., Ahmad denoted by the subject, is doing the action play.
In sentence 2, the verb form, i.e., played, shows that the subject, i.e., Ahmad receives the action.
When an action is performed by a person or thing expressed by the subject, as in sentence 1, we say that the verb in that sentence is in the active voice.
If something is done to the person denoted by the subject, as in sentence 2, we say that the sentence is in a passive voice.
What is a Voice in English?
In the English language, the literal meaning of the word “voice” is sound. But in English grammar, the word voice refers to the way we speak or write something. A voice shows whether the subject (person or thing) does the action or is something done to it.
OR voice is a future of verb that shows that the subject acted or acted on by the verb. Voice can be divided into two types active Voice and Passive Voice.
We can talk in two ways
- By emphasizing the doer of the action as in sentence 1 above.
- By emphasizing the receiver of the action, as in sentence 2.
Definition & Examples of Active Voice
A sentence begins with the doer of the action (called the subject), then the verb, then the object (person to whom or for whom something is done) is called an active voice.
OR A sentence will be in active voice when the subject performs the action expressed by the verb. In the active voice, we emphasize the doer of the action called the subject. The subject is always going before the verb.
The active voice sentences consist of three parts subjects, transitive verbs, and direct or indirect objects.
Example: He reads a book.
This is an active voice sentence because the subject (He) does the action (reads)to the object (a book).
Further Examples of Active Voice
Definition & Examples of Passive Voice
When the subject of the sentence receives the action denoted by the verb, we say that the verb is in the Passive Voice. In the passive form, we emphasize the person or thing (the direct object in an active voice sentence) that an action is done to or for.
Passive voice sentences consist of subjects, forms of to be, past participles, and an optional prepositional phrase introduced by the preposition by.
Examples of Passive Voice
- The cat was killed by the dog.
- I am loved by her.
- My money was stolen.
- The meat wasn’t cooked by her very often.
- I was surprised by the news.
- The work was finished by her.
- They were sent a parcel by me.
- The pages were turned.
- Am I invited by them?
- Are you shocked by this?
Difference Between Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
A verb is said to be transitive when it is followed by an object. All verbs used in the Passive Voice are transitive.
A verb that doesn’t have an object or receiver is called an intransitive verb.
Examples of Transitive Verbs
- I play cricket.
- He teaches me English.
- The dog bit the boy.
These verbs play, teaches, and bit are transitive. The actions performed by the subjects ‘I, He, the dog‘ pass over to the objects’ cricket, me and the boy.’
Further Examples of Transitive Verbs
- She broke the glass yesterday.
- I have eaten the apple.
- Does she eat dinner?
- Open the office.
- Send this parcel to your home.
- The teacher corrects the papers.
- She helped me.
Examples of Intransitive Verbs
- He played well.
- I am happy.
- The sun rises.
- Baby sleeps.
- An accident happened.
- We traveled to New York last summer.
- It is snowing today.
- An accident happened.
- She came to our home yesterday.
- The baby slept well last night.
- He died from cancer.
- Many rivers flow into the Indian Ocean.
- Where does she live?
The verbs in all these sentences are intransitive; we can’t change them into the passive voice.
When to Use The Passive Voice?
The passive voice can be a confusing grammar structure, and its understanding is essential. Both formal and informal speech use the passive voice. If we compare the active and passive forms of verbs. Everyone will find the active sentences more natural and more straightforward. The active sentences flow more smoothly than passive sentences.
The use of passive voice opts in a few situations.
1. We use the passive voice when the person or thing who did the action is unknown to us, or it is not necessary to mention it.
- The format of the subject has been changed. (We don’t know who changed it)
- My missing phone was returned. (I don’t know who returned it)
- The students were punished. (It is not essential who punished them)
2. To emphasize the action rather than the performer of the action, we use passive voice.
- He was arrested.
- This university was built in 1930. (Unimportant agent)
3. The passive voice is used for making more polite or formal statements.
- You have not cleaned the kitchen. (less polite)
- The kitchen has not been cleaned. (more polite)
4. The passive voice is also used when the subject of the active sentence is evident from the context.
- My phone was repaired yesterday. (It is obvious who repair it)
- My mail has been delivered.
5. We can also use the passive voice to add sentence verities to our writing.
Active and Passive Voice Comparison Examples
In the following examples of shifting a sentence from active voice to passive voice, you’ll notice the difference between these two ways of writing the same sentence in a different form.
|Active Voice||Passive Voice|
|I didn’t recognize her.||She wasn’t recognized by me.|
|She reads the novel in one hour.||The novel is read by her in one hour.|
|She will wash the clothes every week.||The clothes will be washed by her every week.|
|They have completely remodeled the house.||The house has been completely remodeled by them.|
|The girl has sung many beautiful songs at the competition.||Many beautiful songs have been sung by the girl at the competition.|
|The teacher split up the class into four groups for the mathematics lecture.||The class was split up by the teacher into four groups for the mathematics lecture.|
|The director is making a movie.||A movie is being made by the director.|