Active Voice :

When using the active voice, the subjects are the ones performing the action.

God loves all men.
Birds build nests.
Dog eats bones.
In these three sentences the subject does the action. Hence they are in the active avoice.
Passive Voice :

In the passive voice, the verb takes an object.

All men are loved by God.
Nests are built by birds.
Bones are eaten by dog.

These sentences are in passive voice. The Passive voice is used in English
(a) To stress the action done rather than the doer of the action
(b) If the doer is unknown
(c) When it is more convenient.

How to convert active voice sentences into passive voice :

First move the object in the active voice to the subject position. Use the appropriate ‘be’ verb such as (is/am/are/was/were/has been/have been/shall be/will be). For example :

Active Voice Passive Voice
Columbus discovered America. America was discovered by Columbus
Who did this work? By whom was this work done?
Open the window Let the window be opened
He is writing a letter A letter is being written by him
The work will be finished by me I will finish the work
Somebody cleaned the room yesterday The room was cleaned yesterday

And to form passive forms of verbs please look the table on the next page.


Tense Active Passive
Present Tense Go, goes Is gone

Are gone

Past Tense Went Was went

Were went

Future Tense Will / can / may / must Will / can etc. =>be gone
Present Continuous Tense Am going

Is going

Is being going

Are being going

Past Continuous Tense Are going

Was going

Were going

Was being gone

Were being gone

Future Continuous Tense Will be going

Shall be going

No passive voice
Present Perfect Tense Have gone

Has gone

Have been gone

Has been gone

Past Perfect Tense Had gone Had been gone
Future Perfect Tense Shall have gone

Will have gone

Will have been gone
Present Perfect Continuous Tense Has been going

Have been going

No passive voice
Past Perfect Continuous Tense Had been going No passive voice
Future Perfect Continuous Tense Shall have been going

Will have been going

No passive voice

Changes of Pronouns :

Active Voice Passive Voice
I Me
We Us
You You
He Him
She Her
It It
They Them

Rules for changing Active Voice into Passive Voice :

  • Identify the subject, the verb and the object.
  • Change the obejct into subject
  • Put the suitable helping verb or auxiliary verb. In case helping verb is given, use the same. But note that the helping verb given agrees with the object.
  • Change the verb into past participle of the verb.
  • Add the preposition “by”.
  • Change the subject into object.

Sentences with two objects :

If a sentence contains two objects namely Indirect Object and Direct Object in the Active Voice, two forms of Passive Voice can be formed.

  • She brought me a cup of coffee. (AV)
    I was brought a cup of coffee by her. (PV) (or)
    A cup of coffee was brought [to] me by her. (PV)
  • The teacher teaches us grammar. (AV)
    We are taught grammar by the teacher. (PV) (or)
    Grammar is taught [to] us by the teacher. (PV)

Beware of Complement :

  • They made him king. (AV)
    He was made king by them. (PV)

Infinitive and Gerund :

  • I want to shoot the tiger. (AV)
    I want the tiger to be shoot. (PV)
  • I remember my father taking me to the theatre. (AV)
    I remember being taken to the theatre by my father. (PV)

Passive Voice into Active Voice

While changing Passive Voice into Active Voice, we must keep in mind all the rules of the Active Voice in the reverse order. We come across sentences in the Passive Voice without subject or agent. In this case, supply the appropriate subject.
To decide whether the given passive voice sentence is in passive voice, any one of the following constructions should be present.

  • 1. is, was ,are, were, am + past participle
  • 2. be + past participle
  • 3. being + past participle
  • 4. been + past participle
  • 5. Let …be + past participle

Source :


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