January 24, 2011 - Manjusha

Changing active into passive voice and vice versa

A sentence in the active voice can be changed into the passive form without any change in meaning.

Study the following examples:

  • Active: The boy killed the spider. (Subject – the boy, active verb – killed, object – the spider)
  • Passive: The spider was killed by the boy. (Subject – the spider, passive verb – was killed, object – the boy)

As you can see, the subject of the active verb becomes the object of the passive verb. In the same way, the object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb. The verb also changes it form.

Note that the active voice is used when the agent or doer of the action is to be made prominent. The passive voice is used when it is not clear who performed the action or when we don’t want to mention the doer of the action.

More examples are given below:

  • Active: Who gave you this pen?
  • Passive: By whom were you given this pen?
  • Active: Listen to me.
  • Passive: You are requested to listen to me.
  • Active: They were questioning the spy.
  • Passive: The spy was being questioned by them.
  • Active: Someone has picked my pocket.
  • Passive: My pocket has been picked.

English Grammar active / active voice / passive / voice / voices /