Categories: Advanced

ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE IN ENGLISH

When we talk about active voice and passive voice in English, we refer to sentence structure (word order). In the active voice sentences, the subject of the action is evident. In passive voice sentences, the object of the action is evident. To understand the English language better and therefore improve your English at the same time, it’s essential to know the two types of voice and their respective constructions. 

To begin with, look at the following examples: 

ACTIVE VOICE 

“Julia bought the new Game of Thrones book.”

PASSIVE VOICE

“The new Game of Thrones book was bought by Julia.” se p

The sentence structure in the active voice is the most common, it’s the first one we learn, the clearest, and the one we use the most on a daily basis. 

WHO DOES THE ACTION (the subject) + VERB + OBJECT RECEIVING THE ACTION 

“Julia + bought + the new Game of the Thrones book.”

Sentence structure in the passive voice is not so common in everyday language. However, it is very important to know how to construct sentences in the passive voice in order to acquire a good level of English grammar throughout the course of learning the language. 

OBJECT OF THE ACTIONTO BE (using same tense as the main verb in the active voice sentence) + PAST PARTICIPLE (the main verb of the active voice in the past participle) *+ PREPOSITIONBY‘ + WHO DOES THE ACTION (the subject) 

*If we wish to say who does the action, we use “by + subject” at the end of the sentence. 

“The new Game of the Thrones book + was + bought + by + Julia “

 “I still don’t quite understand when passive voice is used”. 

 We use passive voice when the person doing the action is unknown or not relevant to the type of information we want to pass on. In this case, emphasis and importance is on the action, not the person. Examples: 

 The eclipse can be observed tonight.”

 “The car was stolen.”

A new shopping mall was built near our school.

 Now it’s your turn to practise. Change the following ACTIVE VOICE sentences to the PASSIVE VOICE. Don’t forget! Change the verb “to be” in the passive voice using the tense of the main verb in the active voice.  If you have any questions, our native teachers can help you or write your questions in the comments and we will answer them 🙂 🙂 

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