Active vs Passive Voice: Important Rules and Useful Examples

Active voice vs passive Voice! In this lesson, you will learn how to form passive voice in English with some important rules and useful example sentences.

Active Voice vs Passive Voice

Active Voice

The active voice illustrates a sentence where the subject performs the action that stated by the verb.

Form: SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT.

  • I do my home work.
  • My mom cooks the dinner.
  • Our teacher gives us a lot of homework.
  • She receives a letter from her father.

Passive Voice

In contrast, passive voice is describe a sentence in which the subject receives an action.

Form: SUBJECT + VERB + “TO BE” + PAST PARTICIPLE.

  • My homework is done (by me).
  • The dinner is cooked (by my mom).
  • We are given a lot of homework (by our teacher).
  • A letter from her father is received (by her).

Note: “By+…” can be taken out in passive voice.

When to Use Passive Voice?

 1. In formal texts

Examples:

  • Active: They invite him to the party.
  • Passive: He is invited to the party. (sounds more formal)

2. To show interest in the person or object that receive an action rather than the person or object that performs the action.

Examples:

  • The party was held in a luxury hotel. (we’re interest in the party rather than who held it.)
  • All tickets were sold out! (we’re interest in the ticket rather than who sold it.)

3. When we don’t know (or do not want to express) who performed the action.

Examples:

  • My purse was stolen!
  • A whole pot of jam was eaten!

Passive Voice For All Tenses

Passive voice for all tenses in English.

Note:

  • V1: Base Form of Verb
  • V2: Past Simple
  • V3: Past Participle

Present Simple Tense

Learn passive voice for present simple tense in English.

Form:

  • Active: S + V1 + O.
  • Passive: S + is/am/are +V3.

Example:

  • Active: He receives a letter.
  • Passive: A letter is received by him.

Present Continuous Tense

Form:

  • Active: S + am/are/is +V-ing + O.
  • Passive: S + am/are/is +being + V3.

Example:

  • Active: She is cooking the dinner.
  • Passive: The dinner is being cooked by her.

Past Simple Tense

Form:

  • Active: S + V2+O.
  • Passive: S+was/were+V3.

Example:

  • Active: I did my homework last night.
  • Passive: Homework was done by me last night.

Past Continuous Tense

Form:

  • Active: S + was/were + V-ing + O.
  • Passive: S+was/were + being +V3.

Example:

  • Active: He was playing the volleyball yesterday afternoon.
  • Passive: The volleyball was being played by him yesterday afternoon.

Present Perfect Tense

Form:

  • Active: S + have/has + V3 + O.
  • Passive: S+have/has been +V3.

Example:

  • Active: I have studied English for 10 years.
  • Passive: English has been studied for 10 year.

Past Perfect Tense

Form:

  • Active: S + had + V3 + O.
  • Passive: S + had been +V3.

Example:

  • Active: I had bought a new car.
  • Passive: A new car had been bought by me.

Future Simple Tense

Form:

  • Active: S + will + V1 + O.
  • Passive: S + will be +V3.

Example:

  • Active: I will make a cake on my Mom’s birthday.
  • Passive: A cake will be made on my Mom’s birthday.

Future Tense with Going to

Form:

  • Active: S + am/are/is going to + V1 + O.
  • Passive: S + am/are/is going to be +V3.

Example:

  • Active: She is going to do housework.
  • Passive: Housework is going to be done by her.

Modals Verb

Form:

  • Active: S + can/could/may/might… + V1 + O.
  • Passive: S + can/could/may/might…be +V3.

Example:

  • Active: She could lift this box.
  • Passive: This box could be lifted by her.

Modal Perfect

Form:

  • Active: S + should/could/may/might…have + V3+ O.
  • Passive: S + should/could/may/might…have been + V3.

Example:

  • Active: You should have finished the task on time.
  • Passive: The task should have been finished on time.

Active Voice vs Passive Voice | Infographic

Active vs Passive Voice: Important Rules and Useful Examples

Active vs Passive Voice: Important Rules and Useful Examples 1

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Zamirek

The question is as to when to use active and when using a passive becomes imperative in writing?

Zamirek
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Zamirek

Would appreciate your kind reply