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Active and Passive Voice

Voice is the form of a verb which shows whether the subject dose something or has something done to it. In this way there are two voices in English:

  1. Active Voice.
  2. Passive Voice.

Let us deal with these in some detail.

The Active Voice

A Verb is in the Active Voice, when its subject does something: as,

  1. I play hockey.
  2. She ate mangoes.
  3. He will buy this house.

In these sentences the subjects I, she, and he etc. Their verbs are, therefore, said to be in the Active Voice.

The Passive Voice

A Verb is in the Passive Voice, when something is done to its Subject; as,

  1. Hockey is played by me.
  2. Mangoes were eaten by her.
  3. This house will be bought by him.

In these sentences the Subjects Hockey. Mangoes and This house are acted upon. They remain inactive or passive and their Verb are, therefore, said to be in the Passive Voice.

Change from the Active Voice into the Passive Voice

The sentences given below have been changed from the Active in to the Passive Voice. Read them carefully to understand how the change in each case takes place.

  1. I like mangoes. (Active Voice)
    Mangoes are liked by me. (Passive Voice)
  2. My mother loves me. (Active Voice)
    I am loved my mother. (Passive Voice)
  3. They do not like her. (Active Voice)
    She is not liked by them. (Passive Voice)
  4. She bought a book. (Active Voice)
    A book was bought by her. (Passive Voice)
  5. He ate five apples. (Active Voice)
    Five apples were eaten by him. (Passive Voice)
  6. We shall play hockey. (Active Voice)
    Hokey will be played by us. (Passive Voice)
  7. You will not beat her. (Active Voice)
    She will not be beaten by you. (Passive Voice)
  8. She is singing a song. (Active Voice)
    A song is being sung by her. (Passive Voice)
  9. He is selling mangoes. (Active Voice)
    Mangoes are being sold by him. (Passive Voice)
  10. You are cheating me. (Active Voice)
    I am being cheated by you. (Passive Voice)
  11. He was telling a lie. (Active Voice)
    A lie was being told by him. (Passive Voice)
  12. We were doing sums. (Active Voice)
    Sums were being done by us. (Passive Voice)
  13. I have bought a house. (Active Voice)
    A house has been bought by me. (Passive Voice)
  14. He has kept pigeons. (Active Voice)
    Pigeons have been kept by him. (Passive Voice)
  15. She had lost noting. (Active Voice)
    Noting had been lost by her. (Passive Voice)
  16. We shall have killed the snake. (Active Voice)
    The snake will have been killed by us. (Passive Voice)
  17. She will have praised me. (Active Voice)
    I shall have been praised by her.(Passive Voice)

When a sentence is changed from the Active in to the Passive Voice, the following changes take place:

  1. The subject becomes the object; and the object, the subject.
  2. The principal verb is changed in to the past participle (if it is not already in that form).
  3. The principal verb is preceded by some form of the verb be.
  4. The preposition by is placed before the object.

The following examples show the different forms of the passive voice in different tenses:

Present Indefinite Tense

  1. I am beaten.
  2. We were beaten.
  3. You are beaten.
  4. He is beaten.
  5. She is beaten.
  6. It is beaten.
  7. They are beaten.

Present Continuous Tense

  1. I am being beaten.
  2. We were being beaten.
  3. You are being beaten.
  4. He is being beaten.
  5. She is being beaten.
  6. It is being beaten.
  7. They are being beaten.

Present Perfect Tense

  1. I have been beaten.
  2. We have been beaten.
  3. You have been beaten.
  4. He has been beaten.
  5. She has been beaten.
  6. It has been beaten.
  7. They have been beaten.

Past Indefinite Tense

  1. I was beaten.
  2. We are beaten.
  3. You were beaten.
  4. He was beaten.
  5. She was beaten.
  6. It was beaten.
  7. They were beaten.

Past Continuous Tense

  1. I was being beaten.
  2. We are being beaten.
  3. You were being beaten.
  4. He was being beaten.
  5. She was being beaten.
  6. It was being beaten.
  7. They were being beaten.

Past Perfect Tense

  1. I had been beaten.
  2. We had been beaten.
  3. You had been beaten.
  4. He had been beaten.
  5. She had been beaten.
  6. It has been beaten.
  7. They had been beaten.

Future Indefinite Tense

  1. It shall be beaten.
  2. We shall be beaten.
  3. You will be beaten.
  4. He will be beaten.
  5. She will be beaten.
  6. It will be beaten.
  7. They will he beaten.

Perfect Future Tense

  1. I shall have been beaten.
  2. We shall have been beaten.
  3. You will have been beaten.
  4. He will have been beaten.
  5. She will have been beaten.
  6. It will have been beaten.
  7. They will have been beaten.

Some Important Points about the Voice

Here are a few impotent points about the use of the Active and the Passive Voice:

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