Active and Passive Voice: English Grammar School CBSE/ICSE

Simply just keep this in mind that when the subject is the agent or ‘doer’ of the action, the verb is in the active voice. When the subject is not the ‘dower’ but it is the receiver or sufferer or undergoer of the action, the verb is said to be in the passive voice. In passive voice the subject is not active in doing or committing any action, instead it is passive i.e. bearing the effect of the action

See the Examples below:

Active: Ajeet ate a mango. – Ajeet is the ‘dower’ because he himself did the work of eating.
Passive: A mango was eaten by Ajeet. – Mango is not the ‘doer’ here because did not do the work of eating.

Some more examples:

1. Active Voice
a) The girl won the first prize.
b) Mohan was watching the match on TV.

2. Passive Voice
a) The first prize was won by the girl.
b) The match was being watched on TV by Mohan.

In the above sentences, the verbs in 1(a) ‘won‘ and 1(b) ‘was watching‘ express the actions done by the subjects The girl and Mohan respectively. When the subject of the verb does the action, the voice of the verb is said to be Active.

In sentence 2(a) and 2(b), the verbs ‘was won‘ and ‘was being watched‘ express the actions done on the subjects ‘The first prize’ and ‘The match‘ respectively. When the subject of the verb in a sentence receives the action, the voice of the verb is aid to be Passive.
Here the word ‘by’ identifies the sentences as being in passive voice.


Contents show

General Rules of Passive Formations

While changing a verb from Active Voice to Passive Voice, the following general rules should be followed:

i) The object of the active voice is made the subject of the passive voice.
ii) The subject of the active voice is made the object of the passive voice.
iii) The passive voice must contain the third form of the main or finite verb.
iv) The form of the verb is used according to the tense.

SubjectVerb in Active FormObject
I (Subject)wrote (Verb)a story (Object)
ObjectVerb in Passive formby + Subject
A storywas writtenby me
Active &Active and Passive Voice: English Grammar for Schools

Changes of Person

Subjective CasePossessive CaseObjective Case
Imyme
weourus
youyouryou
hehishim
sheherher
theytheirthem
Active &Active and Passive Voice: English Grammar for Schools

Tenses and Passive Voice Constructions


Present Tense Passive Formations

Present Indefinite/Simple

Affirmative

Rules:
Active: Subject + first form of verb + e/es + object
Passive: Object + is/am/are + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:
Active : He plays football.
Passive : Football is played by him.

Active : The teacher teaches maths.
Passive : Maths is taught by the teacher.

Active : They always invite me.
Passive : I am always invited by them.

Negative

Active : Subject + do/does + not + first form of verb + object
Passive : Object + is/am/are + not + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : I do not like chocolates.
Passive : Chocolates are not liked by me.

Active : She does not buy vegetables.
Passive : vegetables are not bought by her.

Active : You do not complete work in time.
Passive : Work is not completed in time by you.

Interrogative

Active : Do/does + subject + first form of verb + object?
Passive : Is/am/are + object + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples:

Active : Do you obey your elder brother?
Passive : Is your elder brother obeyed by you?

Active : Does she pluck the flowers?
Passive : Are the flowers plucked by her?

Negative Interrogative

Active : Do/does + subject + not + first form of verb + object?
Passive : Is/an/are + object + not + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples :

Active : Does Mohit not plant a tree?
Passive : Is a tree not planted by Mohit?

Active : Do you not read a book?
Passive : Is a book not read by you?

Present Continuous

Affirmative

Active : Subject + is/am/are + first form of verb + ing + object
Passive : Object + is/am/are + being + third form of verb + by + subjec
t

Examples:

Active : My friend is cooking the food.
Passive : The food is being cooked by my friend.

Active : You are teaching me.
Passive : I am being taught by you.

Negative

Active : Subject + is/am/are + not + first form of verb + ing + object
Passive : Object + is/am/are + not + being + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : She is not purchasing a house.
Passive : A house is not being purchased by her.

Active : I am not cutting a tree.
Passive : A tree is not being cut by me.

Interrogative

Active : Is/am/are + subject + first form of verb + ing + object?
Passive : Is/am/are + object + being + third form of verb + by + subject

Example:

Active : Are they plucking some flowers?
Passive : Are some flowers being plucked by them?

Negative Interrogative

Example:

Active : Is/am/are + subject + not + first form of verb + ing + object?
Passive : Is/am/are  + object + not + being + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples:

Active : Is he not flying a kite?
Passive : Is a kite not being flown by him?

Active : Are you not singing a song?
Passive : Is a song not being sung by you?

Active : Am I not teaching you English?
Passive : Are you not being taught English?

Present Perfect

Affirmative

Active : Subject + has/have + third form of verb + object
Passive : Object + has/have + been  + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : She has taken a cup of tea.
Passive : A cup of tea has been taken by her.

Active : You have found the address.
Passive : The address has been found by you.

Negative

Active : Subject + has/have + not + third form of verb + object
Passive : Object + has/have + not + been + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : He has not eaten a banana.
Passive : A banana has not been eaten by him.

Active : They have not plucked the flowers.
Passive : The flowers have not been plucked by them.

Interrogative

Active : Has/have + subject + third form of verb + object?
Passive : Has/have + object + been + third form of verb + by + subject?

Example:

Active : Have they won the match?
Passive : Has the match been won by them?

Negative Interrogative

Active : Has/have + subject + not + third form of verb + object?
Passive : Has/have + object + not + been + third form of verb + subject?

Example:

Active : Has he not written this letter?
Passive : Has this letter not been written by him?


Past Tense Passive Formations

Past Indefinite

Affirmative

Active : Subject + second form of verb + object
Passive : Object + was/were + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : Reena employed three hundred men.
Passive : Three hundred men were employed by Reena.

Active : They built three houses.
Passive : Three houses were built by them.

Negative

Active : Subject + did + not + first from of verb + object
Passive : Object + was/were + not + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : I did not see him.
Passive : He was not seen by me.

Active : You did not pay the bill.
Passive : The bill was not paid by you.

Interrogative

Active : Did + subject + first form of verb + object?
Passive : Was/were + object + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples:

Active : Did Anmol open the shop?
Passive : Was the shop opened by Anmol?

Active : Did she eat the mangoes?
Passive : Were the mangoes eaten by her?

Negative Interrogative

Active : Did + subject + not + first form of verb + object?
Passive : Was/were + object + not + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples:

Active : Did they not enjoy the magic show?
Passive : Was the magic show not enjoyed by them?

Active : Did Bhawna not finish her work?
Passive : Was Bhawna’s work not finished by her?

Affirmative

Active : Subject + was/were + first form of verb + ing + object
Passive : Object + was/were + being + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : I was learning my lesson.
Passive : My lesson was being learnt by me.

Active : They were distributing the sweets among the children.
Passive : The sweets were being distributed by them among the children.

Negative

Active : Subject + was/were + not + first form of verb + ing + object
Passive : Object + was/were + not + being + third form of verb + by + subject

Example:

Active : The farmer was not ploughing the field.
Passive : The field was not being ploughed by the farmer.

Interrogative

Active : Was/were + subject + first form of verb + ing + object?
Passive : Was/were + object + being + third form of verb + by + subject?

Example:

Active : Were they abusing the others?
Passive : Were the others being abused by them?

Negative Interrogative

Active : Was/were + subject + not + first form of verb + ing + object?
Passive : Was/were + object + not + being + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples:

Active : Was she not driving a motor car?
Passive : Was a motor car not being driven by her?

Active : Were the farmers not sowing the seeds?
Passive : Were the seeds not being sown by the farmers?

Past Perfect

Affirmative

Active : Subject + has + third form of verb + object
Passive : Object + had + been + third form of verb + by + subject

Example:

Active : I had already done my work.
Passive : My work had already been done by me.

Negative

Active : Subject + had + not + third form of verb + object
Passive : Object + had + not + been + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : You had not written a letter.
Passive : A letter had not been written by you.

Active : They had not won the match.
Passive : The match had not been won by them.

Active : He had not played a football match.
Passive : A football match had not been played by him.

Interrogative

Active : Had + subject + third form of verb + object?
Passive : Had + object + been + third form of verb + by + subject?

Example:

Active : Had he knocked at the door?
Passive : Had the door been knocked at by him?

Negative Interrogative

Active : Had + subject + not + third form of verb + object?
Passive : Had + object + not + been + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples:

Active : Had she not washed the clothes?
Passive : Had the clothes not been washed by her?

Active : Had they not played a cricket match?
Passive : Had a cricket match not been played by them?


Future Indefinite

Affirmative

Active : Subject + will/shall + first from of verb + object
Passive : Object + will/shall + be + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : He will win the match.
Passive : The match will be won be him.

Active : I shall teach you.
Passive : You will be taught by me.

Active : The mother will boil milk.
Passive : Milk will be boiled by the mother.

Negative

Active : Subject + will/shall + not + first form of verb + object
Passive : Object + will/shall + not + be + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : They will not watch TV.
Passive : TV will not be watched by them.

Active : I shall not cook rice.
Passive : Rice will not be cooked by me.

Interrogative

Active : Will/Shall + subject + first form of verb + object?
Passive : Wil/shall + object + be + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples:

Active : Will hey praise the Gita?
Passive : Will the Gita be praised by them?

Active : Shall we run a race?
Passive : Will a race be run by us?

Negative Interrogative

Active : Will/shall + subject + first form of verb + object?
Passive : Will/shall + object + be + third form of verb + by + subject?

Examples:

Active : Will your friend not invite Abhay?
Passive : Will Abhay not be invited by your friend?

Future Perfect

Affirmative

Active : Subject + shall have/will have + third form of verb + object
Passive : Object + shall have been/will have been + third form of verb + subject

Examples:

Active : They will have planted a tree.
Passive : A tree will have been planted by them.

Active : We shall have sold our home.
Passive : Our house will have been sold by us.

Active : They will not have planted a tree.
Passive : A tree will not have been planted by them.

Active : We shall not have sold our house.
Passive : Our house will not have been sold by us.

Negative

Active : Subject + will/shall + not + have + third form of verb + object
Passive : Object + will/shall + not + have + been + third form of verb  + subject

Examples:

Active : Will they have planted a tree?
Passive : Will a tree have been planted by them?

Active : We shall not have sold our house.
Passive : Our house will not have been sold by us.

Interrogative

Examples:

Active : Will/shall + subject + have + third form of verb + object?
Passive : Will/shall + object + have + been + third form of verb + subject?

Active : Will they have planted a tree?
Passive : Will a tree have been planted by them?

Active : Shall we have sold our house?
Passive : Will our house have been sold by us?

Negative Interrogative

Examples:

Active : Will/shall + subject + not + have + third form of verb + object?
Passive : Will/shall + object + not + have been + third form of verb + subject?

Active : Will they not have planted a tree?
Passive : Will a tree not have been planted by them?

Active : Shall we not have sold our house?
Passive : Will our house not have been sold by us?


Imperative Sentences and Passive Voice

Study the following rules to make the passive form of imperative sentences

Rule 1: Let + object + be + third form of verb

Rule 2: Object + should + be + third form of verb

Rule 3: You are ordered/requested/advised + to + first form of verb + ……

Rule 4: Let + object + be + third form of verb + by + …………

Examples:

Active : Open the shop.
Passive : Let the shop be opened.
or,
The shop should be opened.
or,
You are ordered to open the shop.

Active : Write your name.
Passive : Let your name be written.
or,
Your name should be written.
or,
You are requested (or ordered) to write your name.

Active : Call the peon.
Passive : Let the peon be called.
or,
The peon should be called.
or,
You are ordered to call the peon.

Active : Let him learn his lesson.
Passive : Let his lesson be learnt by him.

Active : Don’t break the door.
Passive : Let the door not be broken,

Active : Let me cook the food.
Passive : Let the food be cooked by me.


Modals and Passive Voice

Affirmative

Type 1.

Active: Subject + modal auxiliary + first form of verb + object
Passive : Object + modal auxiliary + be + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : He should buy a book.
Passive : A book should be bought by him.

Active : They must speak the truth.
Passive : The truth must be spoken by them.

Type 2.

Active : Subject + modal auxiliary + have + third form of verb + object
Passive : Object + modal auxiliary + have + been + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : They may have eaten the food.
Passive : The food may have been eaten by them.

Active : She should have drunk the milk.
Passive : The milk should have been drunk by her.

Type 3.

Active : Subject + ought to + first form of verb + object
Passive : Object + ought to + be + third form of verb + subject

Examples:

Active : You ought to serve your nation.
Passive : Your nation ought to be served by you.

Active : They ought to respect their parents.
Passive : Their parents ought to be respected by them.

Negative

Type 1.

Active : Subject + modal auxiliary + not + first form of verb + object
Passive : Object + modal auxiliary + not + be + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : He should not abuse others.
Passive : Others should not be abused by him.

Type 2.

Active : Subject + ought not to + first form of verb + object
Passive : Object + ought not to + be + third form of verb + subject

Example:

Active : You ought not to insult others.
Passive : Others ought not to be insulted by you.

Type 3.

Active : Subject + modal auxiliary + not + have + third form of verb + object
Passive : Object + modal auxiliary + not + have + been + third form of verb + by + subject

Active : He may not have done the work.
Passive : The work may not have been done by him

Interrogative

Type 1.

Active : Modal Auxiliary + subject + first from of verb + object?
Passive : Modal Auxiliary + object + be + third form of verb + by + subject?

Example:

Active : Can our team win the match?
Passive : Can the match be won by our team?

Type 2.

Active : Modal auxiliary + subject + have + third form of verb + object?
Passive : Modal auxiliary + object + have + been + third form of verb + by+ subject?

Example:

Active : Will he have eaten the mangoes?
Passive : Will the mangoes have been eaten by him?

Type 3.

Active : Ought + subject + to + first form of verb + object?
Passive : Ought + object + to + be + third form of verb + by + subject?

Example:

Active : Ought we to follow the rules?
Passive : Ought the rules to be followed by us?

Negative Interrogative

Type 1.

Active : Modal auxiliary + subject + not + first form of verb + object?
Passive : Modal auxiliary + object + not + be + third form of verb + by + subject?

Example:

Active : Should they not buy a house?
Passive : Should a house not be bought by them?

Type 2.

Active : Modal auxiliary + subject + not + have + third form of verb + object?
Passive : Modal auxiliary + object + not + have + been + third form of verb + by + subject?

Example:

Active : Would Raman not have won the match?
Passive : Would the match not have been won by Raman?

Rule 3.

Active : Ought + subject + not + to + first form of verb + object
Passive : Ought + obj
ect + not + to + be + third form of verb + by + subject?

Example:

Active : Ought you not to pollute the air?
Passive : Ought the air not to be polluted by you?


Some Specific Passive Voice Constructions

Passive Voice with Two Objects

Read the following.

Active : She taught me English.
Passive : I was taught English by her.
or,
English was taught to me by her.

Active : I gave me a pen.
Passive : I was given a pen by him.
or,
A pen was given to me by him.

Passive Voice with Infinitive ‘to’

Rules to Change Active Voice into Passive Voice

Active : Subject + helping verb + to + first form of verb + object
Passive : Object + helping verb + to + be + third form of verb + by + subject

Examples:

Active : She is to cook the food.
Passive : The food is to be cooked by her.

Active : I am to buy the book.
Passive : The book is to be bought by me.

Active : They have to read Sanskrit.
Passive : Sanskrit has to be read by them.

Active : He had to play Hockey.
Passive : Hockey had to be played by him.

Passive Voice Without Agent

(Without ‘does’ or Omission of Subject in the Passive Voice)

Active : Someone has stolen my book.
Passive : My book has been stolen.

Active : No one boy it.
Passive : It cannot be bought.

Active : People always respect teachers.
Passive : Teachers are always respected.


Passive Voice of Imperative Sentences

Study the following rules to make the passive form of imperative sentences

Rule 1 : Let + object + be + third form of verb

Rule 2 : Object + should + be + third form of verb

Rule 3 : You are ordered/requested/advised + to + first form of verb + ……

Rule 4 : Let + object + be + third form of verb + by + …………

Examples:

Active : Open the shop.
Passive : Let the shop be opened.
or,
The shop should be opened.
or,
You are ordered to open the shop.

Active : Write your name.
Passive : Let your name be written.
or,
Your name should be written.
or,
You are requested (or ordered) to write your name.

Active : Call the peon.
Passive : Let the peon be called.
or,
The peon should be called.
or,
You are ordered to call the peon.

Active : Let him learn his lesson.
Passive : Let his lesson be learnt by him.

Active : Don’t break the door.
Passive : Let the door not be broken,

Active: Let me cook the food.
Passive: Let the food be cooked by me.

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