Active-Passive Voice Tricks with Exercise

People who can use passive voice appropriately are considered to have a good level of English. Go through the article to learn about the correct usage of passive voice.

Difference in Active and Passive voice

 

Active

Passive

A sentence starts with a subject
 Example
 Workers do the work.
     
                     
 Subject          Object

A sentence starts with an object.
Example
The work is done by workers.


Rules for changing Active to Passive Voice

 

Subject is changed as per the following rule

 

ACTIVE

PASSIVE

I

ME

THEY

THEM

HE

HIM

SHE

HER

WE

US

WHO

WHOM

IT

IT

YOU

YOU

WHAT

WHAT

WHICH

WHICH



General rule used to make passive voice 

Object + To be + Past Participle of Verb +  by Subject


‘To be’ varies according to the tense and rest of the rule remains the same.

Present Indefinite

 

The forms of ‘To be’ – is/am/are

Object + is/am/are + Past Participle of Verb +  by Subject

 

Examples

Active – He plays football.
Passive– Football is passed by him.

Active– I teach English.
Passive – English is taught by me.

Past Indefinite

The forms of ‘To be’ – was/ were
So rule would be modified as

Object + was/were + Past Participle of Verb +  by Subject

 

Example

Active – Her Teacher punished her.
Passive– She was punished by her teacher.

Perfect Tenses (Present, Past & Future)

 

The form of ‘To be’ – been

Object + been + Past Participle of Verb +  by Subject 


Examples

Present Perfect: 

Active – He has written a letter.
PASSIVE – A Letter has been written by him.

Past Perfect: 

Active – They had already watched the movie.
Passive– The movie had already been watched by them.

Future Perfect: 

Active – The children will have seen the show.
Passive– The show will have been seen by the children.


Continuous Tense

The form of ‘To be’ – being

Object + being + Past Participle of Verb +  by Subject


 Present Continuous: 

Active – He is eating ice cream.
Passive– Ice cream is being eaten by him.

Past Continuous: 

Active – They were watching the movie.
Passive– The movie was being watched by them.

NOTE: Passive voice of Future Continuous and Perfect Continuous Tenses is not possible.

MODALS (can, should etc.) and Future Indefinite

The form of ‘To be’ – be

Object + be + Past Participle of Verb +  by Subject

 

EXAMPLES

Active – Government should ban smoking
Passive– Smoking should be banned by the government.
Active –I will finish the job tomorrow.
Passive– The job will be finished by me tomorrow.

SUMMARY

So, changing Active Voice into Passive requires two steps: 

Identify type of tense used in Active Voice 

Apply the corresponding rule. 

TENSE

FORMS OF ‘ TO BE’

Present Indefinite

Is/am/are

Past Indefinite

Was/were

Perfect (Present, Perfect, Future)

been

Continuous(Present, Past)

being

Modals and Future Indefinite

be



TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

Change the following sentences into the passive voice.

He likes coffee. 

I received a parcel. 

You will never forget this lesson. 

They have brought a gift for you. 

They had prepared the dinner before we arrived. 

She will have taken the test. 

She is doing the cooking. 

They were giving a performance. 

They should hire professionals. 


ANSWERS

Coffee is liked by him. (Present Indefinite) 

A parcel was received by me. (Past Indefinite) 

This lesson will never be forgotten by you. (Future Indefinite) 

A gift has been brought to you by them. (Present Perfect) 

The dinner had been prepared before we arrived. (Past Perfect) 

The test will have been taken by her. (Future Perfect) 

The cooking is being done by her. (Present continuous) 

A performance was being given by them. (Past Continuous) 

 

Professionals should be hired by them. (Modals)