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Active voice and Passive voice
Dr.S.Jothi Basu M.A,M.Phil,PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Vivekananda College,
Tiruvedakam West,
Madurai-625 234.
Kannan likes apples.
Apples by Kannanare liked
He employs a servant.
A servant by himis employed
My mother washes my clothes.
My clothes are washed by my mother
Kannan beats Ravi.
Ravi is beaten by Kannan.
We celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our
school.
The Golden Jubilee of our school is
celebrated by us.
I greet the student.
The student is greeted by me.
The cat kills the rats.
The rats are killed by the cat.
He writes a letter.
A letter is written by him.
Ravi Varma teaches us grammar.
Grammar is taught by Ravi Varma to us.
She helps the poor.
The poor are helped by her.
They killed the enemies.
The enemies by themwere killed
He wrote a letter.
A letter by himwas written
were discovered
Thomson discovered the electrons.
The electrons by Thomson
A car knocked down the child
The child was knocked down by a car.
The people gave a grand welcome to
the president.
The president was given a grand
welcome by the people.
Raja rajan built the Big temple of
Tanjore.
The Big temple of Tanjore was built by
Raja rajan
My uncle painted this picture.
This picture was painted by my uncle.
Active and passive
 The active voice tells you what the subject of a
sentence does.
 The passive voice creates a new subject.
 The active voice is more common than the passive.
Active: Robin started the group project.
Passive: The group project was started by Robin.
Transitive and intransitive
 Only transitive verbs (verbs which take a direct
object) can be made passive.
 If you are not sure if a verb is transitive or
intransitive in English, try putting an object after
it.
Transitive
SUBJECT VERB OBJECT
started
What did Robin start?
Answer: the group project
The verb ‘start’ can take an object, so it is transitive.
Robin
the group
project
Intransitive
SUBJECT VERB OBJECT
laughed.
What did Robin laugh?
Answer: Nothing. You cannot laugh something.
The verb ‘laugh’ cannot take an object, so is
intransitive.
Robin
Some verbs are transitive and
intransitive
 I ran the race (transitive)
 I ran (intransitive)
If you want to know if a verb is transitive or intransitive,
look in a learner’s dictionary of English.
The object of the active sentence
becomes the subject of the
passive sentence.
SUBJECT VERB OBJECT
started
SUBJECT VERB
was started
Robin the group
project.
The group
project
by Robin.
The verbs in the passives song
I used to be so passive
Every door was closed to me. (passive)
I used to be so passive
No door was opened to me. (passive)
Then the door opened (ergative)
It opened ergatively. (ergative)
So I pushed it open (active)
I opened it actively. (active)
Now I'm no longer passive
I open every door that I see. (active)
No, I'm no longer passive
The door is wide open for me.
Ergative verbs/The middle voice
1) Robin started the group project. – Active
2) The group project was started by Robin. – Passive
3) The group project started. – ?
Sentence 3 uses an ergative verb. An ergative verb can
change an object into a subject without needing to use a
passive. This is sometimes called the ‘middle voice’.
Active
SUBJECT VERB OBJECT
started
Ergative verb
SUBJECT VERB
started.The group
project
Robin the group
project.
Verbs and Voice
Voice is the form a verb takes
to indicate whether the subject
of the verb performs or
receives the action.
There are two types of voice:
active voice and passive voice.
Active Voice
Active Voice – indicates that the
subject of the verb is acting
Because the subject does or "acts
upon" the verb in such
sentences, the sentences are
said to be in the active voice.
Active Voice
 These examples show that the subject is doing
the verb's action.
 The dog jumped onto the boy.
 The dog (subject) is doing the jumping (verb).
 Kristy will give a book report to the class.
 Kristy (subject) is doing the giving (verb).
 The computer ate my paper.
 The computer (subject) is doing the eating (verb).
Passive Voice
 In a passive voice sentence, the subject and object
flip-flop. The subject becomes the passive recipient of
the action.
 Because the subject is being "acted upon" (or is
passive), such sentences are said to be in the passive
voice.
Passive Voice
 These examples show the subject being acted
upon by the verb.
 The boy was jumped on by the dog.
 Boy (subject) was being jumped on (verb)
 A book report will be given by Kristy to the class.
 Report (subject) will be given (verb).
 My paper was eaten by the computer.
 Paper (subject) was being eaten (verb).
Reasons to Use the Active Voice
 Most writers prefer to use active voice because it is
more direct.
 Compare
 Active: The waiter dropped the tray of
food.
 Passive: The tray of food was dropped
by the waiter.
Reasons to Use the Active Voice
 The active voice is less awkward and clearly states
relationship between subject and action.
 Compare
 Passive: Your request for funding has been denied by
the review committee.
 Active: The review committee denied your request for
funding.
 The active voice sentence pattern propels the reader
forward through your writing thus avoiding weak
prose.
When to Use Passive Voice
 In general, the passive voice is less direct, less
forceful, and less concise than the active voice.
 Use the passive voice in the following situations:
 Use passive voice when you do not know
or do not want to reveal the performer of
an action.
 Use passive voice when you want to
emphasize the receiver of an action.
Examples
 Awkward Passive: My bicycle was repainted by
John.
 Deliberate Passive: My bicycle was repainted.
(The performer is not mentioned and the
emphasis is on the bicycle.)
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 The passive voice requires a "double verb" and will
always consist of a form of the verb "to be" and the
past participle (usually the "en/ed/t" form) of another
verb.
 Example:
Active: John baked the bread.
Passive: The bread was baked by John. (Was is a
form of the verb “be”.)
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 Writers should be familiar with the forms of "to
be" , often called linking verbs, so that they can
easily identify the passive voice in their work.
 Review the forms of "to be":
 am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 Note the forms of "to be" in the examples of the verb
"to kick" in various forms of the passive voice:
 is kicked----------------had been kicked
was kicked-------------is going to be kicked
is being kicked---------will be kicked
has been kicked-------can be kicked
was being kicked------should be kicked
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 Often passive voice sentences will contain a "by"
phrase indicting who or what performed the action.
 Passive sentences can be easily transformed into
active sentences when the object of the preposition
"by" is moved to the subject position in the sentence.
Form of Passive Voice Verbs
 Examples:
 Passive: The cookies were eaten by the children.
 Active: The children ate the cookies.
 Passive: The tunnels are dug by the gophers.
 Active: The gophers dug the tunnels.
Let’s Practice
 Directions: Change the sentences below to the
active voice.
1. The statue is being visited by hundreds of tourists
every year.
2. My books were stolen by someone yesterday.
3. These books had been left in the classroom by a
careless student.
4. Coffee is raised in many parts of Hawaii by plantation
workers.
5. The house had been broken into by someone while
the owners were on vacation.
Let’s Practice
 Directions: Change the sentences below to the
passive voice.
1. Children cannot open these bottles easily.
2. The government built a road right outside her front
door.
3. Mr. Ross broke the antique vase as he walked through
the store.
4. When she arrived, the changes amazed her.
5. The construction workers are making street repairs all
month long.
Active voice and Passive voice
Dr.S.Jothi Basu M.A,M.Phil,PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Vivekananda College,
Tiruvedakam West,
Madurai-625 234.

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Active and voice passive

  • 1. Active voice and Passive voice Dr.S.Jothi Basu M.A,M.Phil,PhD Assistant Professor Department of English Vivekananda College, Tiruvedakam West, Madurai-625 234.
  • 2.
  • 3. Kannan likes apples. Apples by Kannanare liked He employs a servant. A servant by himis employed
  • 4. My mother washes my clothes. My clothes are washed by my mother Kannan beats Ravi. Ravi is beaten by Kannan. We celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our school. The Golden Jubilee of our school is celebrated by us.
  • 5. I greet the student. The student is greeted by me. The cat kills the rats. The rats are killed by the cat. He writes a letter. A letter is written by him.
  • 6. Ravi Varma teaches us grammar. Grammar is taught by Ravi Varma to us. She helps the poor. The poor are helped by her.
  • 7. They killed the enemies. The enemies by themwere killed He wrote a letter. A letter by himwas written
  • 8. were discovered Thomson discovered the electrons. The electrons by Thomson A car knocked down the child The child was knocked down by a car. The people gave a grand welcome to the president. The president was given a grand welcome by the people.
  • 9. Raja rajan built the Big temple of Tanjore. The Big temple of Tanjore was built by Raja rajan My uncle painted this picture. This picture was painted by my uncle.
  • 10. Active and passive  The active voice tells you what the subject of a sentence does.  The passive voice creates a new subject.  The active voice is more common than the passive. Active: Robin started the group project. Passive: The group project was started by Robin.
  • 11. Transitive and intransitive  Only transitive verbs (verbs which take a direct object) can be made passive.  If you are not sure if a verb is transitive or intransitive in English, try putting an object after it.
  • 12. Transitive SUBJECT VERB OBJECT started What did Robin start? Answer: the group project The verb ‘start’ can take an object, so it is transitive. Robin the group project
  • 13. Intransitive SUBJECT VERB OBJECT laughed. What did Robin laugh? Answer: Nothing. You cannot laugh something. The verb ‘laugh’ cannot take an object, so is intransitive. Robin
  • 14. Some verbs are transitive and intransitive  I ran the race (transitive)  I ran (intransitive) If you want to know if a verb is transitive or intransitive, look in a learner’s dictionary of English.
  • 15. The object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence. SUBJECT VERB OBJECT started SUBJECT VERB was started Robin the group project. The group project by Robin.
  • 16. The verbs in the passives song I used to be so passive Every door was closed to me. (passive) I used to be so passive No door was opened to me. (passive) Then the door opened (ergative) It opened ergatively. (ergative) So I pushed it open (active) I opened it actively. (active) Now I'm no longer passive I open every door that I see. (active) No, I'm no longer passive The door is wide open for me.
  • 17. Ergative verbs/The middle voice 1) Robin started the group project. – Active 2) The group project was started by Robin. – Passive 3) The group project started. – ? Sentence 3 uses an ergative verb. An ergative verb can change an object into a subject without needing to use a passive. This is sometimes called the ‘middle voice’.
  • 18. Active SUBJECT VERB OBJECT started Ergative verb SUBJECT VERB started.The group project Robin the group project.
  • 19. Verbs and Voice Voice is the form a verb takes to indicate whether the subject of the verb performs or receives the action. There are two types of voice: active voice and passive voice.
  • 20. Active Voice Active Voice – indicates that the subject of the verb is acting Because the subject does or "acts upon" the verb in such sentences, the sentences are said to be in the active voice.
  • 21. Active Voice  These examples show that the subject is doing the verb's action.  The dog jumped onto the boy.  The dog (subject) is doing the jumping (verb).  Kristy will give a book report to the class.  Kristy (subject) is doing the giving (verb).  The computer ate my paper.  The computer (subject) is doing the eating (verb).
  • 22. Passive Voice  In a passive voice sentence, the subject and object flip-flop. The subject becomes the passive recipient of the action.  Because the subject is being "acted upon" (or is passive), such sentences are said to be in the passive voice.
  • 23. Passive Voice  These examples show the subject being acted upon by the verb.  The boy was jumped on by the dog.  Boy (subject) was being jumped on (verb)  A book report will be given by Kristy to the class.  Report (subject) will be given (verb).  My paper was eaten by the computer.  Paper (subject) was being eaten (verb).
  • 24. Reasons to Use the Active Voice  Most writers prefer to use active voice because it is more direct.  Compare  Active: The waiter dropped the tray of food.  Passive: The tray of food was dropped by the waiter.
  • 25. Reasons to Use the Active Voice  The active voice is less awkward and clearly states relationship between subject and action.  Compare  Passive: Your request for funding has been denied by the review committee.  Active: The review committee denied your request for funding.  The active voice sentence pattern propels the reader forward through your writing thus avoiding weak prose.
  • 26. When to Use Passive Voice  In general, the passive voice is less direct, less forceful, and less concise than the active voice.  Use the passive voice in the following situations:  Use passive voice when you do not know or do not want to reveal the performer of an action.  Use passive voice when you want to emphasize the receiver of an action.
  • 27. Examples  Awkward Passive: My bicycle was repainted by John.  Deliberate Passive: My bicycle was repainted. (The performer is not mentioned and the emphasis is on the bicycle.)
  • 28. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  The passive voice requires a "double verb" and will always consist of a form of the verb "to be" and the past participle (usually the "en/ed/t" form) of another verb.  Example: Active: John baked the bread. Passive: The bread was baked by John. (Was is a form of the verb “be”.)
  • 29. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  Writers should be familiar with the forms of "to be" , often called linking verbs, so that they can easily identify the passive voice in their work.  Review the forms of "to be":  am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been
  • 30. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  Note the forms of "to be" in the examples of the verb "to kick" in various forms of the passive voice:  is kicked----------------had been kicked was kicked-------------is going to be kicked is being kicked---------will be kicked has been kicked-------can be kicked was being kicked------should be kicked
  • 31. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  Often passive voice sentences will contain a "by" phrase indicting who or what performed the action.  Passive sentences can be easily transformed into active sentences when the object of the preposition "by" is moved to the subject position in the sentence.
  • 32. Form of Passive Voice Verbs  Examples:  Passive: The cookies were eaten by the children.  Active: The children ate the cookies.  Passive: The tunnels are dug by the gophers.  Active: The gophers dug the tunnels.
  • 33. Let’s Practice  Directions: Change the sentences below to the active voice. 1. The statue is being visited by hundreds of tourists every year. 2. My books were stolen by someone yesterday. 3. These books had been left in the classroom by a careless student. 4. Coffee is raised in many parts of Hawaii by plantation workers. 5. The house had been broken into by someone while the owners were on vacation.
  • 34. Let’s Practice  Directions: Change the sentences below to the passive voice. 1. Children cannot open these bottles easily. 2. The government built a road right outside her front door. 3. Mr. Ross broke the antique vase as he walked through the store. 4. When she arrived, the changes amazed her. 5. The construction workers are making street repairs all month long.
  • 35. Active voice and Passive voice Dr.S.Jothi Basu M.A,M.Phil,PhD Assistant Professor Department of English Vivekananda College, Tiruvedakam West, Madurai-625 234.