Oct 2, 2018
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The Best Guide for Active Passive Voice

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He files kite – Active Voice

Kite flied him – Passive Voice.

Active Passive Voice

Guys, the above statement for passive voice is incorrect. Let me show you the exact steps to learn Active Passive voice like a pro.

Active Voice is when the subject comes first then the verb and then the object.

Subject means the doer, or one who performs the action, and the object is the receiver of the action.

Passive Voice is when the object comes first, then the verb and then the object.

I shall use the below color codes for Subject, verb and object for better understanding:
Subject
Verb
Object

Step 1: Identify the subject, verb and object.

Active Voice Structure is: Subject + verb + Object

He        + flies  + kite 

Step 2: Identify the tense. You may refer to the links below for tenses.

Step 3: In passive voice, bring the object to the front, depending on the tense, use, is, are, was or were, then past participle of the verb, and finally comes the subject.

Object  + is/are/was/were + past participle + by + subject

Kite      + is                            + flown                  + by + him.

 

PresentPastPast participle
flyflewflown

Did you notice, the subject in the active voice was ‘he’ but in the passive voice it became ‘him’? Why is that?

That is because, in passive voice you use the possessive pronouns. Here is the table for possessive pronouns:

PronounsPossessive Pronouns
hehis
sheher
youyou
itit
Ime

Guys, remember that while transforming a sentence from active to passive voice you should not change the tense.

Here is the list of topics I will be covering in this blog post. You may skip to any part by clicking on the link:

Simple Present Tense or Present indefinite active passive voice

Simple Past Tense or Past indefinite active passive voice

Simple Future Tense Active Passive Voice

Present Perfect Active Passive Voice

Past Perfect Active Passive Voice

Present Continuous Active Passive Voice

Past Continuous Active Passive Voice

Interrogative Pronouns Active Passive Voice

Imperative Pronouns Active Passive Voice

Infinitives Active Passive Voice

Indefinite/Vague Pronouns/Understood Noun

Change to passive voice without using ‘by’

Sentences that cannot be changed to Passive Voice

Active Passive Voice Quiz

Here are a few sentences in active/passive voice. Among the four options, select the best sentence which shows the sentence in active/passive voice.


I shall break down active passive voice tense wise first, and then cover the rest of the rules.

Simple Present Tense or Present indefinite active passive voice

Structure:

Active Voice: Subject + verb + object

Passive Voice: Object + is/am/are + past participle + by + object

Examples:

Active VoicePassive VoiceExplanation
She opens the bottle.The bottle is opened by her.Object – the bottle + is (bottle is singular)+ past participle of open – opened + by + possessive pronoun noun of she – her
John set the dinning table.The dinning table is set by John.Object – The dinning table + is + past participle of set is set+ by+ subject – John.
Steve draws a tree.A tree is drawn by Steve.Object – a tree + is + past participle of draw is drawn+ by+ object – Steve.
I wear blue dress.Blue dress is worn by me.Object – blue dress + is + past participle of wear is worn+ by+ object – possessive pronoun of I – me.
He does not help me.I am not helped by him.object – me becomes I, does not becomes ‘am not‘, past participle of help is helped + by + he becomes him.

As you can see in the above table, first we identified the subject, verb and object, and then the tense.

Simple Past or Past Indefinite Active Passive Voice

Structure:

Active Voice: Subject + verb + object

Passive Voice: Object + was/were + past participle + by + object

Examples:

Active VoicePassive VoiceExplanation
She opened the bottle.The bottle was opened by her.Object – the bottle + was (bottle is singular)+ past participle of open – opened + by + possessive pronoun noun of she – her
John set the dinning table.The dinning table was set by John.Object – The dinning table + was + past participle of set is set+ by+ subject – John.
Steve drew a tree.A tree was drawn by Steve.Object – a tree + was + past participle of draw is drawn+ by+ object – Steve.
I wore blue dress.Blue dress was worn by me.Object – blue dress + was + past participle of wear is worn+ by+ object – possessive pronoun of I – me.
He did not help me.I was not helped by him.object – me becomes I, did not becomes ‘was not‘, past participle of help is helped + by + he becomes him.

Simple Future Tense Active Passive Voice

Structure:

Active Voice: Subject +will/shall + verb + object

Passive Voice: Object + will be/shall be + past participle + by + object

Examples:

Active VoicePassive VoiceExplanation
She will open the bottle.The bottle will be opened by her.Object – the bottle + will be+ past participle of open – opened + by + possessive pronoun noun of she – her
John will set the dinning table.The dinning table will be set by John.Object – The dinning table + will be + past participle of set is set+ by+ subject – John.
Steve draw a tree.A tree will be drawn by Steve.Object – a tree + will be + past participle of draw is drawn+ by+ object – Steve.
I will wear blue dress.Blue dress will be worn by me.Object – blue dress + will be + past participle of wear is worn+ by+ object – possessive pronoun of I – me.
He will not help me.I will not be helped by him.object – me becomes I, will not becomes ‘will not be‘, past participle of help is helped + by + he becomes him.

Present Perfect Tense Active Passive Voice:

Structure:
Active Voice: Subject + has/have + Past Participle + object

Passive Voice: Object + has been/have been + past participle + object

Examples:

Active VoicePassive VoiceExplanation
She has opened the bottle.The bottle has been opened by her.Object – the bottle + has (bottle is singular) been + past participle of open – opened + by + possessive pronoun noun of she – her
John has set the dinning table.The dinning table has been set by John.Object – The dinning table + has been + past participle of set is set+ by+ subject – John.
Steve has drawn a tree.A tree has been drawn by Steve.Object – a tree + has been + past participle of draw is drawn+ by+ object – Steve.
I have worn blue dress.Blue dress has been worn by me.Object – blue dress + has been (blue dress is singular)+ past participle of wear is worn+ by+ object – possessive pronoun of I – me.
He has not helped me.I have not been helped by him.object – me becomes I, has not becomes ‘have not been‘(we use have with I), past participle of help is helped + by + he becomes him.

Please make a note that when you see has, have or had in the active voice, add been after has, have and had in passive voice.

Past Perfect Active Passive Voice

Structure:
Active Voice: Subject + had + Past Participle + object

Passive Voice: Object + had been been + past participle + object

Examples:

Active VoicePassive VoiceExplanation
She had opened the bottle.The bottle had been opened by her.Object – the bottle + had been + past participle of open – opened + by + possessive pronoun noun of she – her
John had set the dinning table.The dinning table had been set by John.Object – The dinning table + had been + past participle of set is set+ by+ subject – John.
Steve  had drawn a tree.A tree  had been drawn by Steve.Object – a tree + had been + past participle of draw is drawn+ by+ object – Steve.
I had worn blue dress.Blue dress had been worn by me.Object – blue dress + had been + past participle of wear is worn+ by+ object – possessive pronoun of I – me.
He had not helped me.I had not been helped by him.object – me becomes I, had not becomes ‘had not been‘, past participle of help is helped + by + he becomes him.

Present Continuous Tense Active Passive Voice

Structure:

Active Voice: subject + is/are/am + verb + ing + object

Passive Voice: Object + is/are/am + being + past participle + by + subject

Examples:

Active VoicePassive VoiceExplanation
She is opening the bottle.The bottle is being opened by her.Object – the bottle + is being + past participle of open – opened + by + possessive pronoun noun of she – her
John is setting the dinning table.The dinning table is being set by John.Object – The dinning table + is being + past participle of set is set+ by+ subject – John.
Steve  is drawing a tree.A tree  is being drawn by Steve.Object – a tree + is being + past participle of draw is drawn+ by+ object – Steve.
I am wearing blue dress.Blue dress is being worn by me.Object – blue dress + is being + past participle of wear is worn+ by+ object – possessive pronoun of I – me.
He is not helping me.I am not being helped by him.object – me becomes I, is not becomes ‘am not being‘, past participle of help is helped + by + he becomes him.

Note: When there is a continuous tense, in passive voice, use being.

Past Continuous Active Passive Voice

Active Voice: subject + was/were + verb + ing + object

Passive Voice: Object + was/were + being + past participle + by + subject

Examples:

Active VoicePassive VoiceExplanation
She was opening the bottle.The bottle was being opened by her.Object – the bottle + was being + past participle of open – opened + by + possessive pronoun noun of she – her
John was setting the dinning table.The dinning table was being set by John.Object – The dinning table + was being + past participle of set is set+ by+ subject – John.
Steve  was drawing a tree.A tree  was being drawn by Steve.Object – a tree + was being + past participle of draw is drawn+ by+ object – Steve.
I was wearing blue dress.Blue dress was being worn by me.Object – blue dress + was being + past participle of wear is worn+ by+ object – possessive pronoun of I – me.
He was not helping me.I was not being helped by him.object – me becomes I, was not becomes ‘was not being‘, past participle of help is helped + by + he becomes him.

Interrogative Pronouns while changing Active Voice to Passive Voice

When there is an interrogative pronoun in the active noun i.e. what, which, who and whom, follow the below rules:

Active Voice Starts withPassive Voice
What
What are you training?
What
What is trained by you?
Which
Which movie do you like the most?
Which
Which movie is liked the most by you?
What is the subject
What makes him sad?
By what
By what is he made sad?
Which is the subject
Which dog bit you?
By which
By which dog were you bit?
Who
Who teaches John German?
By whom
By whom is John taught German?
Whom
Whom is Steve teaching?
Who
Who is being taught by Steve?
Do/Does
Does he read books?
Is/are/am
Are books read by him?
Is/are/am
Is John cooking food??
Is/are/am
Is food being cooked by John?
Did
Did John cook food?
Was/were
Was food cooked by John?
Was/were
Was John cooking food?
Was/were
Was food being cooked by John?
Has/have/had
Has John cooked food?
Has/have/had
Has food been cooked by John?

Examples:

Imperative Sentences

Active VoicePassive Voice
Command and Order
when object is provided
Bring a book
Let + object + be + past participle
Let a book be brought.
Command and Order
when no object is provided
Go out now.
You are ordered to / You are commanded to
You are ordered to go out now.
Premission, Request, Advice
When object is provided
Objey elders.
Object + should + past participle
Parents should be obeyed.
Premission, Request, Advice
When object is not provided
Please leave soon.
You are allowed to/ You are requested to / advised to
You are requested to leave soon.

 

Infinitives Active Passive Voice:

Structure and examples:

Active Voice StructurePassive Voice Structure
Subject + Is/Are/Am/Was/Were/Has/Have/Had + To + Verb (Ist form)+ Object
You are to write a letter.
Object + Is/Are/Am/Was/Were/Has/Have/Had + To + Be + Past Participle + By + Subject
A letter is to be written by you

Indefinite/Vague Pronouns/Understood Noun

When the active voice has indefinite or vague pronouns or understood noun as subjects, you may omit the subject in Passive Voice.

Active VoicePassive Voice
Somebody has picked his pocket.His pocket has been picked.

 

When the active voice is negative, the passive voice should also be negative.

Active VoicePassive Voice
None saw him in the office.He was not seen in the office.
Nobody can change destiny.Destiny cannot be changed.

Change to passive voice without using ‘by’:

Few sentences do not require ‘by’ while changing to passive voice, instead you may use at, with, in, to etc.

Examples:

Active VoicePassive Voice
I know him.He is known to me.

Sentences that cannot be changed to Passive Voice:

There are few sentences that cannot be changed to Passive Voice. They are:

  • Present Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Past Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Future Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Future Continuous Tense
  • Sentences with Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive Verbs are verbs that do not require an object to complete the sentence:

Examples:
She laughs.
He is sleeping.

You may see that the above sentences has a subject and a verb, but no object. You need an object to convert a sentence to a passive voice, hence these sentences cannot be changed to passive voice.

You may refer to my blog about tenses for more understanding on how to use tenses.

Let me know in the comments section below if you found this useful and if you have any questions.

Comments to The Best Guide for Active Passive Voice

  • this is an excellent explanation , thankyou for clarifying the concepts related to the passive voice

    Shehzad Amin December 25, 2018 6:39 pm Reply
    • You are most welcome 🙂

      admin March 25, 2019 11:30 pm Reply

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