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Active and Passive Voice

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actv_psv_img_1What is Active and Passive Voice?:

Active voice is more common than passive voice. The voice that is often used is called active voice. In an active voice, the object receives the action of the verb while a passive voice is not used so often. The action of the verb is received by the subject in a passive voice. Now let us look at these examples. Whenever the focus is on the action rather than the agent ( i.e. who is performing the action) we use passive voice. In a passive voice, the agent is not so important.

 

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EXAMPLE:

  1. Nancy likes pizza.
  2. Pizza is liked by Nancy.


The two sentences denote the same meaning. But the first sentence is in Active voice. In the first sentence the subject i.e. Nancy does the action. Hence the verb liked is in active voice. However, in the second example something is done to the subject. So the form of the verb helped is said to be in passive voice. Here it must be noted that when the verb is changed from active to passive voice the subject of the verb in the active voice (i.e. Nancy) becomes the object of the verb in the passive voice.

 

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EXAMPLE:

  1. Somebody stole my purse.
  2. My purse was stolen.

 

Here the first sentence is in active voice and the second sentence is in passive. In the second sentence, the focus is more on the fact that the purse was stolen rather than who has stolen it.

 

When and why one should use passive voice:

When we use the active voice, we like to emphasize the agent i.e. one who does the action. In an active voice, focus is on the agent rather than the action. On the contrary, in a passive voice the focus is on the object of the action rather than the subject. Whenever you want your readers to pay more attention to the object rather than the subject or the agent, passive voice can be used. Passive voice can be used when the agent is unknown or irrelevant or when you talk about some universal truth.

Example:

  1. These paintings were made long time ago. ( We are not interested to know who made the paintings)
  2. My pizza was eaten. ( We don’t know who ate the pizza)
  3. The dues will be cleared. ( We are not interested about the agent)

It may become very exhausting and monotonous to read sentence after sentence of active voice. To get rid of this monotony, one can use passive voice. Passive voice can also be used to change your style of writing. But we should always keep in mind that active voice is more common than passive voice. So we should not avoid or ignore active voice.

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Examples of Active and Passive Voice:

Some examples of active and passive voice are mentioned below:

 

ACTIVE VOICE

PASSIVE VOICE

SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE

 

  1. He plays guitar.
  1. Guitar is played by him.
  1. He does not play guitar.
  1. Guitar is not played by him.

SIMPLE PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE

 

  1. Smita is buying fruits.
  1. Fruits are being bought by Smita.
  1. I am not writing a letter.
  1. A letter is not being written by me.

PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

 

  1. Rani has done her homework.
  1. Her homework has been done by Rani.
  1. They have not finished their work.
  1. Their work has not been finished by them.

 

SIMPLE PAST TENSE

 

 

  1. Rahim helped Jenny.

  1. Jenny was helped by Rahim.

  1. I did not meet my boss.
  1. My boss was not met by me.

PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE

 

  1. He was drinking water.
  1. Water was being drunk by him.
  1. He was not drinking water.
  1. Water was not being drunk by him.

SIMPLE FUTURE TENSE

 

  1. Karim will buy a house.
  1. A house will be bought by Karim.
  1. Karim will not buy a house.
  1. A house will not be bought by Karim.



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