passive voice - active voice

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Active Voice, Passive Voice There are two special forms for verbs called voice: 1. Active voice 2. Passive voice The active voice is the "normal" voice. This is the voice that we use most of the time. You are probably already familiar with the active voice. In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb: acti ve subjec t ver b objec t > Cats eat fish. The passive voice is less usual. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb: passiv e subjec t verb object < Fish are eaten by cats. The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb: subject verb object active Everybod y drinks water. passiv e Water is drunk by everybody.

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Page 1: PASSIVE VOICE - ACTIVE VOICE

Active Voice, Passive Voice

There are two special forms for verbs called voice:

1. Active voice 2. Passive voice

The active voice is the "normal" voice. This is the voice that we use most of the time. You are probably already familiar with the active voice. In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb:

active

subject verb object

  >

Cats eat fish.

The passive voice is less usual. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb:

passive

subject verb object

<  

Fish are eaten by cats.

The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb:

  subject verb object

active Everybody drinks water.

passive Water is drunk by everybody.

Page 2: PASSIVE VOICE - ACTIVE VOICE

Passive Voice

The passive voice is less usual than the active voice. The active voice is the "normal" voice. But sometimes we need the passive voice. In this lesson we look at how to construct the passive voice, when to use it and how to conjugate it.

Construction of the Passive Voice

The structure of the passive voice is very simple:

subject + auxiliary verb (be) + main verb (past participle)

The main verb is always in its past participle form.

Look at these examples:

subject auxiliary verb (to be) main verb (past participle)  

Water is drunk by everyone.

100 people are employed by this company.

I am paid in euro.

We are not paid in dollars.

Are they paid in yen?

Use of the Passive Voice

We use the passive when:

we want to make the active object more important we do not know the active subject

  subject verb Object

give importance to active object (President Kennedy)

President Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

active subject unknown My wallet has been stolen. ?

Note that we always use by to introduce the passive object (Fish are eaten by cats).

Look at this sentence:

Page 3: PASSIVE VOICE - ACTIVE VOICE

He was killed with a gun.

Normally we use by to introduce the passive object. But the gun is not the active subject. The gun did not kill him. He was killed by somebody with a gun. In the active voice, it would be: Somebody killed him with a gun. The gun is the instrument. Somebody is the "agent" or "doer".

Conjugation for the Passive Voice

We can form the passive in any tense. In fact, conjugation of verbs in the passive tense is rather easy, as the main verb is always in past participle form and the auxiliary verb is always be. To form the required tense, we conjugate the auxiliary verb. So, for example:

present simple: It is made present continuous: It is being made present perfect: It has been made

Here are some examples with most of the possible tenses:

infinitive to be washed

simple

present It is washed.

past It was washed.

future It will be washed.

conditional It would be washed.

continuous

present It is being washed.

past It was being washed.

future It will be being washed.

conditionalIt would be being washed.

perfect simple

present It has been washed.

past It had been washed.

future It will have been washed.

conditional It would have been washed.

perfect continuous present It has been being washed.

Page 4: PASSIVE VOICE - ACTIVE VOICE

past It had been being washed.

future It will have been being washed.

conditional It would have been being washed.

EXERCISES

I. Write in front of the sentence if it is passive voice (P.V.) or active voice (A.V.) and Change the sentences into passive or active voice depending on what is needed.

EX. I ate a piece of chocolate cake. A.V.

A piece of chocolate was eaten by me - Passive Voice -

1. The librarian read the book to the students ___________________________________

2. The money was stolen ___________________________________

3. They are paid on Fridays ___________________________________

4. The movie is being made in Hollywood. ___________________________________

5. I washed my car three weeks ago ___________________________________

6. His hair was cut by a professional ___________________________________

7. I will introduce you to my boss this week ___________________________________

8. It would have been fixed on the weekend ____________________________________

9. The national anthem is being sung by Jason this time ___________________________

10. The program was installed by the engineer __________________________________

I. Put the following sentences into the passive voice. Remember that the agent should not be used unless important.

1. They make shoes in that factory. ______________________________________________________________2. People must not leave bicycles in the driveway. ______________________________________________________________3. They built that skyscraper in 1934. ______________________________________________________________4. The students will finish the course by July. ______________________________________________________________5. They are repairing the streets this month. ______________________________________________________________6. They make these tools of plastic. ______________________________________________________________7. They have finished the new product design. ______________________________________________________________

Page 5: PASSIVE VOICE - ACTIVE VOICE

8. They were cooking dinner when I arrived. ______________________________________________________________9. Smithers painted 'Red Sunset' in 1986. ______________________________________________________________10. Did the plan interest you? ______________________________________________________________

II. Change the sentences into passive or active voice depending on what is needed.

11. The teacher has helped Joe ____________________________________

12. The secretary is going to fax the letters ____________________________________

13. The house is being painted by Jane ____________________________________

14. Did you turn off the stove? ____________________________________

15. Garavito was punished by the law ____________________________________

16. The article had been published by P. M ____________________________________

17. Do a large number of people speak English? _________________________________

18. Our room will be cleaned by a maid ____________________________________

19. Has the boat been sold by Sean? ____________________________________

20. I won’t pay the rent ____________________________________

III. Put the following sentences into the passive voice. Remember that the agent should not be used unless important.

1. They had finished the preparations by the time the guests arrived. ________________________________________________________________________

2. You should take care when working on electrical equipment. ________________________________________________________________________

3. They are going to perform Beethoven's Fifth Symphony next weekend. ________________________________________________________________________

4. Someone will speak Japanese at the meeting. ________________________________________________________________________

5. Karen is going to prepare the refreshments. ________________________________________________________________________