Active Voice and Passive Voice

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Active Voice and Passive Voice :

Look at these sentences.

Anand repaired the laptop.
The laptop was repaired by Anand.

Both the sentences mean the same. But there is some difference. The first sentence is about Anand and says what he did. The second sentence is about the laptop and says what happened to it. The first sentence is in the active voice and the second sentence is in the passive voice. In an active sentence the subject does the action, while in a passive sentence the action is done to the subject. We can also use the terms ACTIVE and PASSIVE when we talk about verbs. In the above sentences the verb REPAIRED is said to be in the active voice and the verb WAS REPAIRED in the passive voice.

We use the passive voice to make the object of the active voice more important. We put the object of the active voice at the beginning of the passive voice because we want to talk about the laptop, not about Anand, as in the second sentence above.

Here is another example.

My friend’s son was run over by a car.

This sentence is in the passive voice because the speaker is much more concerned about his friend’s son than he is about the car.

The following changes are made when the active voice is turned into the passive.

1. The object of the active voice becomes the subject of the passive voice.

2. The passive form of the verb is made by adding be (is, was, has been, etc.) to the past participle.

3. The passive verb is followed by BY + DOER.

We can leave out BY + DOER if we do not know the doer or if it is not necessary to mention the doer.

Someone stole the watch. (Active)
The watch was stolen. (Passive)

The police arrested the thief. (Active)
The thief was arrested. (Passive)

In the first example above, we do not know who stole the watch.

In the second example above, we need not mention the doer. We know that the police arrested the thief. So we have left out by + doer.

As pointed out above, the passive of a verb is made by adding a suitable form of BE to the past participle. It would be rather difficult to find the suitable form of BE for a particular tense. Below are given the common tenses of the verb give.

Tense : Simple Present
Active Voice : give / gives
Passive Voice : am / is / are given

Tense : Present Continuous
Active Voice : am / is / are giving
Passive Voice : am / is / are being given

Tense : Present Perfect
Active Voice : has / have given
Passive Voice : has / have been given

Tense : Simple Past
Active Voice : gave
Passive Voice : was / were given

Tense : Past Continuous
Active Voice : was / were giving
Passive Voice : was / were being given

Tense : Past Perfect
Active Voice : had given
Passive Voice : had been given

Tense : Simple Future
Active Voice : will / shall give
Passive Voice : will / shall be given

Here are examples of the various tenses.

Active forms and Passive forms are given below.

Anil likes oranges.
Oranges are liked by Anil.

The dog eats meat.
Meat is eaten by the dog.

The servant is sweeping the room.
The room is being swept by the servant.

Fred is returning the books.
The books are being returned by Fred.

Mr. Brown has built a house.
A house has been built by Mr. Brown.

She has washed the plates.
The plates have been washed by her.

The boy threw a stone.
A stone was thrown by the boy.

When did he sell his Car?
When was his car sold by him?

They were repairing the road.
The road was being repaired by them.

The children had eaten all the cakes by that time.
All the cakes had been eaten by the children by that time.

I will invite Mr. Joshi.
Mr. Joshi will be invited by me.

Note also the following forms.

Active Voice : to give
Passive Voice : to be given

ING form
Active Voice : giving
Passive Voice : being given

He expected you to invite him to the party.
He expected to be invited to the party.

She likes people praising her.
She likes being praised.

When the verb in the active voice is followed by two objects, we can make either of them the subject of the passive voice.

Active : Somebody lent me a pen.
Passive : I was lent a pen.
Passive : A pen was lent to me.

Active : They gave Usha the keys.
Passive : Usha was given the keys.
Passive : The keys were given to Usha.

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