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Active and Passive Voice

Sep 5, 2022
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Voice, it is also known as diathesis, is a grammatical feature that describes the relationship between the subject in a sentence and the verb. 

Active Voice

When the subject of a sentence is the doer or actor, the verb is in the active voice. It is so because the subject is active. 

  • I see the Academy Awards ceremony every year.  
  • Do you know the winners’ names? 

Passive Voice

In passive-voice sentences, the subject is the receiver of the action.  

A passive-voice verb is utilized in the past participle form preceded by the auxiliary verb “be.” 

  • The Academy Awards ceremony is seen by millions. 
  • The winners’ names are not known until the night of the ceremony. 

General rules of Voice Change: 

  • The object of the action word in the active voice will be the subject of the action word in the aloof voice. 
  • The subject of the action word in the active voice will be the object in the passive voice. (Generally preceded by the preposition “by”) 
  • The main verb is transformed into the past participle form, and it is preceded by the correct form of the verb ‘to be ‘in passive voice. 
  • There are some verbs with the objects. In such cases, either of the objects can be changed into the subject, and other is retained as an object. The objects are called retained objects. 

Use of Passive Voice: 

  • When the receiver of the action is essential: To emphasize the importance of the receiver of the action. 
  • When articulating a professional, neutral, or objective tone: To articulate a neutral, professional, or objective tone.  
  • Generally, the receiver of the action functions as the primary topic throughout the text.  
  • It is used when the agent is unknown, irrelevant, or implied. 
  • It is used while softening an authoritative tone. 
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