English Grammar

Active Voice and Passive Voice Rules, and Differences

Active Voice and Passive Voice Rules, and Differences
Written by iLmrary

After you have learned parts of speech and 12 English Tenses in English Grammar, the next topic you would like to focus on is Active voice and passive voice. in today’s blog, you will learn what active voice and passive voice and also you will learn what are their definitions and usage of, and some basic differences between these two voices along with maximum examples. I believe you will completely learn about these two voices at the end of this blog.

Active Voice and Passive Voice Rules, and Differences

Active Voice and Passive Voice

There are mainly types of voices in English language:

  • Active voice
  • Passive voice

Active Voice:

When the subject of a sentence does the action is called active voice. it describes that a noun or pronoun is preforming the action and are subject of a sentence. For example, in The dog chased the ball, the dog is the one doing the chasing. So, in Active Voice, the subject is actually performs the action in a sentence. The basic structure follows the formula:

The children are playing in the park.
Sarah is baking cookies.

Passive Voice:

In passive voice voice, the main target is the action in the sentences. it tells that the subject here is acted upon by the action. The action is
done by the thing receiving the action, not the thing doing the action. Like instead of saying The dog chased the cat, we can say The cat was chased by the dog. Therefore, we do not put our focus on who did the action, we just focus on what received the action.

A delicious meal was prepared for the guests by the chef.
The project was completed ahead of schedule by the team.

It is really important to learn the structure of these voices. it is as Follows:

Active voice  –  Subject + Verb + Object
Passive Voice – Object + Verb + Subject

Rules for Active Voice:

Place the subject at the beginning of the sentence.

Incorrect: A delicious meal was prepared by the chef for the guests.
Correct: The chef prepared a delicious meal for the guests.

Use Strong and Specific verbs to Convey action.

Incorrect: The presentation was given by Sarah.
Correct: Sarah delivered the presentation.

Keep Sentences Concise and to the point.

Incorrect: There is a need for improvements to be made by the team.
Correct: The team needs to make improvements.

Rules for Passive Voice:

Place the object at the beginning of the sentence.

Incorrect: The guests were served a delicious meal by the chef.
Correct: A delicious meal was served to the guests by the chef.

Include the agent (doer of the action) when necessary for clarity.

Incorrect: The report was reviewed.
Correct: The manager reviewed the report.

Use passive voice selectively; opt for active voice when possible.

Incorrect: Mistakes were made by the team during the project.
Correct: The team made mistakes during the project.

Difference Between the Active Voice and the Passive Voice

Let’s now understand Active Voice and Passive Voice! When we use Active Voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action in a sentence. For example, John baked the cake. Here, John is the subject, and he’s doing the action, which is baking the cake.
On the other hand, in Passive Voice, the subject receives the action. So instead of saying ‘John baked the cake.’ we could say  it in a different manner The cake was baked by john’ Here, cake has taken place of  the subject John and that has become now the focus to receive the action. if we understand the difference between these two voices. it would help us express ourselves clearly in writing.

Here are Some more Examples to Explain Active Voice:

  • The students conducted (verb) an experiment (object) in the laboratory.
    The student -(subject)
    conducted -(verb)
    an experiment -(object)
  • The gardener (subject) planted (verb) colorful flowers (object) in the garden.
    The gardener- (subject)
    planted- (verb)
    colorful flowers – (object)
  • The author (subject) wrote (verb) a captivating novel (object) last year.
    The author – (subject)
    Wrote – (verb)
    a captivating novel-  (object)

Examples to Explain Passive Voice:

  • A new law  was enacted (verb) by the government last month.
    A new law – (object)
    was enacted-  (verb)
    government – (subject)
  • The project (object) was completed (verb) ahead of schedule by the dedicated team.
    The project- (object)
    was completed – (verb)
    dedicated team.- (subject)
  • The message (object) was conveyed (verb) to the audience by the speaker.
    The message – (object)
    was conveyed  – (verb)
    by the speaker.  (subject)

Rues to Be Followed When Converting Active into Passive Voice

Tense Active Voice Sentence Passive Voice Sentence
Present Simple The chef cooks a delicious meal. A delicious meal is cooked by the chef.
The team solves problems efficiently. Problems are solved efficiently by the team.
Past Simple The students finished their assignments. Assignments were finished by the students.
The teacher taught the lesson yesterday. The lesson was taught by the teacher yesterday.
Future Simple The gardener will plant flowers tomorrow. Flowers will be planted by the gardener tomorrow.
The company will launch a new product next month. A new product will be launched by the company next month.
Present Continuous The workers are constructing the building. The building is being constructed by the workers.
The chef is preparing a special dish. A special dish is being prepared by the chef.
Past Continuous The mechanic was fixing the car. The car was being fixed by the mechanic.
The team was developing new software. New software was being developed by the team.
Future Continuous The workers will be constructing the bridge. The bridge will be being constructed by the workers.
The scientist will be researching new discoveries. New discoveries will be being researched by the scientist.

Change of Pronouns

 I  Me
She Her
He Him
We Us
It It
They Them

Active Voice and Passive Voice Examples

Active Voice:

  • The dog chased the ball.
  • The teacher explained the lesson.
  • The gardener planted beautiful flowers.
  • The kids are playing in the park.
  • The company launched a new product.
  • The chef prepared a delicious dessert.
  • The mechanic fixed the car.
  • The artist painted a stunning masterpiece.
  • The team won the championship.

Passive Voice:

  • The ball was chased by the dog.
  • The lesson was explained by the teacher.
  • Beautiful flowers were planted by the gardener.
  • The park is being played in by the kids.
  • A new product was launched by the company.
  • A delicious dessert was prepared by the chef.
  • The car was fixed by the mechanic.
  • A stunning masterpiece was painted by the artist.
  • The championship was won by the team.

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