Passive and Active Voice Autor: Yolanda Vite Sánchez
Passive Voice • We use the passive voice to show that something happens to the subject of the sentence. • The person or thing that causes or carries out the action is called an agent. • We form the passive voice with the verbbe and the pastparticiple of the main verb. • Reasons to use the passive voice: • The agent (or doer) of the action is less important • The agent is unknown • The agent is common knowledge, and it is redundant to mention it
Example: The Family was entertained by the clown. The Family Agent Was Verb to be Entertained Main verb ( past participle) By the clown Subject
Active Voice • We use the active voice to show that the grammatical subject coincides with the agent of the action expressed by the verb. • Sentences in active voice are also more concise than those in passive voice because fewer words are required to express action in active voice than in passive. • Reasons to use the active voice: • The active voice is much more direct. • The active voice is less awkward and clearest. • The active voice is shorter.
Example: The clown was entertaining to the Family. The clown Subject Was Entertaining Action To the Family Agent of the action
Changing passive to active If you want to change a passive-voice sentence to active voice, find the agent in a "by the…" phrase, or consider carefully who or what is performing the action expressed in the verb. Make that agent the subject of the sentence, and change the verb accordingly. Sometimes you will need to infer the agent from the surrounding sentences which provide context. Example: Sentence in Passive voice The book is being read by most of the class Agent Most of the class Changed to Active voice Most of the class is reading the book
Changing active to passive If you want to change an active-voice sentence to passive voice, consider carefully who or what is performing the action expressed in the verb, and then make that agent the object of a "by the…" phrase. Make what is acted upon the subject of the sentence, and change the verb to a form of be + past participle. Including an explicit "by the..." phrase is optional. Example: Sentence in Active Voice Scientists have discovered traces of ice on the surface of Mars. Agent Scientist Changed to Passive voice Traces of ice have been discovered on the surface of Mars by Scientist.