Voices



 “A Voice is very important factor in English Grammar.  A voice may be Active or Passive. We use these voices unknowingly in our daily life. Every sentence, we speak, includes either of the voice. Mostly, the active voice is used in oral communication and the passive voice is used in written communication especially in newspapers, articles, etc.”

TYPES OF VOICES

  • Active Voice
  • Passive Voice.

ACTIVE VOICE
The sentences in which the subject performs the action and the object receives the action are said to be in Active Voice.

Example :
He ate an apple.
They played Chess.
                     
The above sentence reveals clearly that he subject / the doer / an agent performs the action….it is received by the object/receiver.

In the Active sentences, the importance or priority is given to only the subject. It gives the question ‘who did the action’ rather than ‘what happened’.


PASSIVE VOICE
If the importance or priority is given to only the verb of a sentence, then it is said to be in Passive Voice. In Passive voices, action is given the importance rather than the performer. In short, ‘what happened’ is more important than ‘who did the action?’ Mostly, the passive voices are used in the newspapers, invitations cards, articles or any other written communications. We use this Passive Voice when we don’t know the subject / an agent who performed the actions.


# What happens while changing sentences from Active to Passive?

  • While changing a sentence from Active Voice to Passive Voice, several changes take place.
  • The object of the verb becomes the subject of the passive voice.
  • The verb form will be changed according to the tense.
  • The subject of the verb is written ‘by + subject ‘in the passive voice.

  • One more important point is that the tense form of the voice never changes i.e., if the tense form of the active voice is Present perfect tense, it remains same in the Passive voice.
 

# Sample example of changing of voice

(AV):  Anil ate an apple.
(PV):  An apple was eaten [by Anil].

In the above sentence, ‘Anil’ was the subject who performed the action ‘ate’ and the same action was received by the object ‘an apple’. 

In the Passive sentence, it is clear that both the subject and object interchanged their places and the verb form was changed from ‘ate’ to ‘was eaten’. The change of verb form depends on the singular or plural of subject and tense form.

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# Rules to be followed for changing Active into Passive
(The common changes in the place of verb/tense forms)

PRESENT TENSE

TENSE NAME
ACTIVE
PASSIVE
Simple Present Tense
Eats
Is /are eaten
Present Perfect Tense
Has/have eaten
Has/have been eaten
Present Continuous
Is/are eating
Is/are being eaten
Present Perfect Continuous Tense
Has/have been eating
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Examples:


 I drink tea.

Tea is drunken by me.


He has drunk tea.
Tea has been drunken by him.

They are drinking tea.
Tea is being drunken by them.

We have been drinking tea.
Tea has (been being) drunken by us. [Cannot be written]

(The fourth form cannot be changed into the passive voice as it contains two ‘be’ forms in it. It is syntaxically a mistake.)
 

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PAST TENSE
TENSE
ACTIVE
PASSIVE
Simple Past Tense
Ate
Was/ were eaten
Past Perfect Tense
Had eaten
Had been eaten
Past Continuous Tense
Was/were eating
Was/were being eaten
Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Had been eating
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Examples:

I drank tea.
Tea was drunken by me.

He had drunk tea.
Tea had been drunken by him.

They were drinking tea.
Tea was being drunken by them.



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FUTURE TENSE
TENSE
ACTIVE
PASSIVE
Simple Future Tense
Will eat
Will be eaten
Future Perfect Tense
Will have eaten
Will have been eaten
Future Continuous Tense
Will be eating
-------------
Future Perfect Continuous Tense
Will have been eating
-------------

Examples:

I will drink tea.
Tea will be drunken by me.

He will have drunken tea.
Tea will have been drunken by him.

They will be drinking tea.
Tea will (be being) drunken by them. [Cannot be written]


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#. The most common changes in the Subjects and Objects
Nouns
Pronouns
I
Me
We
Us
They
Them
She
Her
He
Him
It
It
You
You, Him