Active & Passive Voice Rules

Active Voice and Passive Voice Rules – Easy way to learn active voice and passive voice



When using the active voice, the subjects are the ones performing the action.

God loves all men.
Birds build nests.
Dog eats bones.

In these three sentences the subject does the action. Hence they are in the active avoice.


In the passive voice, the verb takes an object.

All men are loved by God.
Nests are built by birds.
Bones are eaten by dog.

These sentences are in passive voice. The Passive voice is used in English

(a) To stress the action done rather than the doer of the action
(b) If the doer is unknown
(c) When it is more convenient.

How to Covert Active Voice sentences into Passive Voice:

First move the object in the active voice to the subject position. Use the appropriate ‘be’ verb (is/am/are/was/were/has been/have been/shall be/will be)


How to form passive forms of verbs?


Changes of Pronouns:


Rules for changing Active Voice into Passive Voice:

  • Identify the subject, the verb and the object: SVO
  • Change the object into subject
  • Put the suitable helping verb or auxiliary verb. In case helping verb is given, use the same. But note that the helping verb given agrees with the object.
  • Change the verb into past participle of the verb.
  • Add the preposition “by”
  • Change the subject into object.


Imperative Sentence :

If the given sentence in the active voice is in the imperative, to get the passive voice use ‘Let’. Hence Passive Voice = Let + Object + be + Past Participle


Questions in the Passive :

If the question in the Active Voice begins with a Helping verb the Passive voice must also begin with a suitable helping verb. Supposing the question begins with ‘Wh or How’ form (what, when, how …) the Passive Voice must begin with the same.


Sentences with two objects:

If a sentence contains two objects namely Indirect Object and Direct Object in the Active Voice, two forms of Passive Voice can be formed.

> She brought me a cup of coffee. (AV)
I was brought a cup of coffee by her. (PV) (or)
A cup of coffee was brought [to] me by her. (PV)

> The teacher teaches us grammar. (AV)
We are taught grammar by the teacher. (PV) (or)
Grammar is taught [to] us by the teacher. (PV)

Beware of Complement:

> They made him king. (AV)
He was made king by them. (PV)

Infinitive and Gerund :

> I want to shoot the tiger. (AV)
I want the tiger to be shoot. (PV)

> I remember my father taking me to the theatre. (AV)
I remember being taken to the theatre by my father. (PV)


While changing Passive Voice into Active Voice, we must keep in mind all the rules of the Active Voice in the reverse order. We come across sentences in the Passive Voice without subject or agent. In this case, supply the appropriate subject.

To decide whether the given passive voice sentence is in passive voice, any one of the following constructions should be present.

1. is, was ,are, were, am + past participle
2. be + past participle
3. being + past participle
4. been + past participle
5. Let …be + past participle

Changing Passive Voice to Active Voice.



Difference between passive voice with “by” – phrase and impersonal passive:

Compare these two sentences:

> Last year, the Green-India scheme was announced by the Government.
> Rare plants are found in Silent Valley.

In the first sentence, the doer/agent is explicitly mentioned because the doer is important in that sentence. But in the second sentence it is not so, because either the agent or doer of the action is too obvious or unknown.

The passive construction is quite common in scientific / technical / business writing. In these types of objective writing the emphasis is usually on the action or process or thing that is described. So the ‘by’ phrase is generally omitted in these writings. It is called Impersonal Passive.

Converting the following sentences into imperative passive:

> They say that might is right.
    It is said that might is right.

> One finds mosquitoes everywhere.
   Mosquitoes are found everywhere.

> He gave us a cheque.
   A cheque was given to us.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...