Grammar : Voice





There are
TWO TYPES of Voices in English language.

They are:

1.Active voice.

2. Passive voice.

When we express an idea giving importance to the doer, the sentence is written in the active form.
That means that the ‘doer of the action’ is active.

• He wrote a letter.

When we express an idea giving importance to the action rather than to the doer, the sentence is written in the passive form.
That means that the ‘doer of the action’ is not active but passive.

• A letter was written by him.

In passive form, the verb will be in past participle form.

“Write" is Present tense form of the verb.

“Wrote" is past tense form of the verb

“Written" is past participle form of the verb

Since “a letter" was singular form, it is followed by singular-past tense verb “was".

Let us see one by one:

1.Active voice.

As we saw already, when we express an idea giving importance to the doer, the sentence is written in the active voice.

In active voice the verb is controlled by the subject.

The object in the active voice becomes the subject in the passive voice.

The subject in the active voice becomes the object of the preposition “by" in the passive voice.

Examples:

• He helped them in their studies.

• They invite me.

• The boys pluck flowers.

• I take the responsibility.

• BHEL exports boilers.

• My mother prepares delicious foods.

• We expect you.

• The Prime Minister inaugurated the conference.

• They boycotted the function.

• The C.B.I. will investigate this crime.

2.Passive voice.

When we express an idea giving importance to the action rather than to the doer, the sentence is written in the passive voice.

In passive voice the verb is controlled by the object.

The object in the active voice becomes the subject in the passive voice.

The subject in the active voice becomes the object of the preposition “by" in the passive voice.

Only the past-participle of the main verb is used in the passive verb (along with the helping verb).

Examples:

I. They treat me very well. (Active voice)

II. He treats me very well. (Active voice)

In the example-I, the subject is in plural form (they). So the verb (treat) is used in accordance with that.

But in the example-II, the subject is in singular form (he). So the verb (treats) is used in accordance with that.

Let us see the Passive voices of these sentences.

Examples:

I. I am treated very well by them.

II. I am treated very well by him.

In both these sentences, the verbs are modified only by the singular Pronoun “I", not by the subjects of the sentences.

• He damages the flowers. (Active voice)

• The flowers are damaged by him. (Passive voice)

In this example, in Active voice the verb (damages) is controlled by the singular form of the subject (he).

In passive voice, the verb (are damaged) is controlled by the plural form of the object (they).

Examples:

• They tell the story. (Active voice)
• The story was told by them. (Passive voice)


• He helps us. (Active voice)
• We are helped by him. (Passive voice)


• We take him seriously. (Active voice)
• He was taken seriously by us. (Passive voice)


Let us see the passive voices of the sentences given under the active voice section above.

• He helped them in their studies. (Active voice)
• They were helped by him in their studies. (Passive voice)


• They invite me. (Active voice)
• I am invited by them. (Passive voice)


• The boys pluck flowers. (Active voice)
• The flowers were plucked by the boys. (Passive voice)


• I take the responsibility. (Active voice)
• The responsibility was taken by me. (Passive voice)


• BHEL exports boilers. (Active voice)
• Boilers are exported by BHEL. (Passive voice)


• My mother prepares delicious foods. (Active voice)
• Delicious foods were prepared by my mother. (Passive voice)


• We expect you. (Active voice)
• You are expected by us. (Passive voice)


• The Prime Minister inaugurated the conference. (Active voice)
• The conference was inaugurated by the Prime Minister. (Passive voice)


• They boycotted the function. (Active voice)
• The function was boycotted by them. (Passive voice)


• The C.B.I. will investigate this crime. (Active voice)
• This crime will be investigated by the C.B.I. (Passive voice)

Passive voice is also used when the doer of an action is unknown or is very obviously known.

Examples:

• The local politician has been murdered.
• It is not known who murdered the local politician.


• The ship was wrecked.
• It is obvious that the ship can be wrecked only by wind or water.

Only transitive verbs (verbs which take objects) can be put in the passive voice.

Examples:

• He laughed.

This sentence does not have its passive voice form.

Because, the verb (laugh) is only an intransitive verb.

• Clanton killed his friend.

This sentence has its passive voice form. (His friend was killed by Clanton)

Because the verb (kill) is transitive a verb.

Examples:

The sentences in
BLACK are in active voice

where as the sentences in
GREEN are in passive voice.

1.He pesters me a lot.
I am pestered a lot by him.


2.The opposition criticizes the government for everything.
The government is criticized for everything by the opposition.


3.The people expect the government to reduce the prices.
The government is expected by the people to reduce the prices.


4.My neighbor teaches me Hindi.
I am taught Hindi by my neighbor.


5.The collector goes through every file carefully.
Ever file is gone through by the collector carefully.


6.Our teacher gives a lot of home-work.
A lot of home-work is given by the teacher.


7.Children like chocolate very much.
Chocolate is liked very much by the children.


8.This factory produces consumer-goods.
Consumer goods are produced by this factory.


9.They met me.
I was met by them.


10.I posted the letters.
The letters were posted by me.


11.The Chief Minister rejected the demand of the opposition.
The demand of the opposition was rejected by the Chief Minister.


12.He helped me a lot in this matter.
I was helped a lot by him.


13.Few months ago, India tested nuclear devices.
Nuclear devices were tested by India few months ago.


14.Lost month I sent an application for a new phone connection.
An application for a new phone-connection was sent by me lost month.


15.They will accept his plan.
His plan will be accepted by them.


16.I will contact your boss directly.
Your boss will be contacted by me directly.


17.The police will arrest the culprits within a week.
The culprits will be arrested by the police within a week.

18.The Government will soon take a decision in this matter.
A decision in this matter will be taken by the government.

19.The workers are loading the Lorries.
The Lorries are being loaded by the workers.


20.I am writing a novel.
A novel is being written by me.


21.They are considering me for the post.
I am being considered by them for the post.


22.The secretary is preparing the annual report.
The annual report is being prepared by the secretary.


23.They were signing the documents.
The documents were being signed by them.


24.I was teaching English in the college.
English was being taught by me in the college.


25.The workers were demanding bonus.
Bonus was being demanded by the workers.


26.The doctor was examining the patient.
The patient was being examined by the doctor.


27.They have consulted me.
I have been consulted by them.


28.You have made a mistake.
A mistake has been made by you.


29.The company has made good profits.
Good profits have been made by the company.


30.The bank has sanctioned the loan.
The loan has been sanctioned by the bank.


31.We have booked all the rooms in the hotel.
All the rooms have been booked by us.


32.The Chairman had denied him the right to vote.
He had been denied his right to vote by the Chairman.


33.Somebody has disfigured the statue of the leader.
The statue of the leader has been disfigured by somebody.


34.I could have solved this problem easily.
This problem could have been solved easily by me.

NOTE:

It is not sufficient to know how to change the voice form of the sentence from active voice to passive voice.

The Active voice should be used when the ‘doer of the action’ is to be made prominent.

The Passive voice should be used when the ‘action’ or the ‘person acted upon’ is to be made prominent.

Go to the section on Passive Voice to continue.



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