Sunday, 22 January 2017

Active and Passive Voice Rules

Rules on Active Passive Voice

Active voice: They will do the work
Passive voice: The work will be done by them.
  • When the person doing the action is the subject, we use an Active verb. But when the subject is what the action is pointed at, then we use a passive verb.
As in the above example, ACTIVE sentence is the one where the person (THEY) is also the subject of the sentence.
While PASSIVE sentence is the one, where the subject is the action showing word (WORK).
NOTE: However, the sentences only with transitive verb (verb with object) can be changed into PASSIVE VOICE.
For Example,
Active voice: The man is running.
Passive voice: Not Possible as the object after verb (Running) is missing.
To Recognize the Active & Passive Sentence easily ask these question.
  • What is the action/verb in this sentence?
  • What/who is the subject of this sentence?
  • Is the subject of the sentence PERFORMING the action/verb?
If the answer to the last question is YES, then the sentence is in the ACTIVE voice. If the answer to the last question is NO, then the sentence is in the PASSIVE voice.
General Form:
NOTE: Sometime while converting sentence from Passive Voice to Active voice, the subject is missing.
For Example,
Passive: The room was cleaned.
Active: Someone cleaned the room.
“BY SOMEONE” is missing from the Passive Sentence.

Conversion of Active to Passive Sentence in different Tenses

1.Simple Present Tense

Passive VoiceObject + is/am/are + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject
Active voice: He sings a song.
  • He does not sing a song.
  • Does he sing a song?
Passive voiceA song is sung by him.
  • A song is not sung by him.
  • Is a song sung by him?
  1. Simple Past Tense
Passive voiceObject + was/were + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject
Active voiceI killed a snake
  • I did not kill a snake.
  • Did I kill a snake?
Passive voice:
  • A snake was killed by me.
  • A snake was not killed by me.
  • Was a snake killed by me?
  1. Simple Future Tense
Passive Voice: Object + will/shall + be + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject
Active voice: 
  • She will buy a car.
  • She will not buy a car.
  • Will she buy a car?
Passive voice:
  • A car will be bought by her.
  • A car will not be bought by her.
  • Will a car be bought by her?
  1. Present Continuous Tense
Passive Voice: Object + is/am/are + being + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject
Active voice: 
  • I am writing a letter
  • I am not writing a letter.
  • Am I writing a letter?
Passive voice: 
  • A letter is being written by me.
  • A letter is not being written by me.
  • Is a letter being written by me?
  1. Past Continuous Tense
Passive Voice: Object + was/were + being + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject
Active voice:
  • He was driving a car.
  • He was not driving a car.
  • Was he driving a car?
 Passive voice:
  • A car was being driven by him.
  • A car was not being driven by him.
  • Was a car being driven by him?
  1. Present Perfect Tense
Passive voice: Object + has/have + been + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject
Active voice:
  • She has finished his work
  • She has not finished her work.
  • Has she finished her work?
Passive voice:
  • Her work has been finished by her.
  • Her work has not been finished by her.
  • Has her work been finished by her?
  1. Past Perfect Tense
Passive Voice: Object + had + been + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject
Active voice:
  • They had completed the assignment.
  • They had not completed the assignment.
  • Had they completed the assignment?
Passive voice:
  • The assignment had been completed by them.
  • The assignment had not been complete by them.
  • Had the assignment been completed by them?
  1. Future Perfect Tense
Passive VoiceObject + shall/will + have + been + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject
Active voice:
  • You will have started the job.
  • You will have not started the job.
  • Will you have started the job?
Passive voice: 
  • The job will have been started by you.
  • The job will not have been started by you.
  • Will the job have been started by you?

Important Points to Remember

  • Future continuous & perfect continuous tenses do not form passive voice.
  • Some verb cannot be passive like be, belong, exist, lack, resemble, seem, suit, have (= own).
For example:
  • Tom has a guitar.
  • The building seemed empty.
  • Certain verb take fixed preposition after them that replaces the “by”. Such verb are – known to, surprised at/by, amazed at, astonished at, vexed at, annoyed with/at, contained in, decorated with, filled with, tired of, engulfed in. etc.
For example:
Active: The fire engulfed the building.
Passive: The building was engulfed in the fire.
  • Some verb have two objects like give, send offer award etc. The sentence having these words have two possible passive forms.
For example:
Active: He gave me a book.
Passive 1: I was given a book by him.
Passive 2: A book was given to me by him.