Active And Passive Voice Rules For English Grammar

Understanding Active and Passive Voice rules are imperative for candidates preparing for various Government exams as well as other competitive exams.  

In this article, we shall discuss in detail the Active and Passive Voice rules followed by examples to explain them clearly along with the sample questions asked in the examinations based on the same.

Active & Passive Voice

Let us first understand the meaning of the voice, and what is active voice and passive voice.

What is Voice of a verb?

The voice of a verb expresses whether the subject in the sentence has performed or received the action.

Example:

  • Watchman opens door
  • The door is opened by the watchman

Types of Voices of Verb

The verbs have two voices (i) Active Voice (ii) Passive Voice

Active Voice – When an action expressed by the verb is performed by the subject, it is an active voice. Active voice is used when more straightforward relation and clarity is required between the subject and the verb.

Active Voice example:

  • Hens lay Eggs
  • Birds build nests

Passive Voice –  When the action expressed by the verb is received by the subject, it is passive voice. Passive voice is used when the doer of the action is not known and the focus of the sentence is on the action and not the subject.

Passive Voice Examples:

  • Eggs are laid by Hens
  • Nests are built by Birds

Candidates preparing for any Government exam can check other important topics for English language section.

Active to Passive Voice Rules For Conversion of Sentence

Below are the rules to follow for changing an active sentence into a passive voice. Before heading to the rules let’s check the examples of active and passive voice sentences.

Conversion of Active and passive voice examples

  • Rita wrote a letter (Subject + Verb + Object)
  • A letter was written by Rita  (Object) + (auxiliary verb) + (past participle) + (by subject).
  • She cooks food (Subject + Verb + Object)
  • The food is cooked by her (Object) + (auxiliary verb) + (past participle) + (by subject)

Conversion of Active Voice into Passive Voice Rule

Rule 1. Identify the (S+V+O) Subject, Verb and object in the active sentence to convert to passive voice 

Example: 

He drives car (Subject – He, verb – Drives, object – Car)

Rule 2. Interchange the object and subject with each other i.e. object of the active sentence become the subject of the passive sentence.

Example : 

Active voice : She knits sweater (Subject – She, Verb – Knits, Object – Sweater)

Passive Voice : The sweater is knitted by her (Object sweater is interchanged with the subject She).

Rule 3. In passive voice sometimes the subject is not used. I.e. the subject in passive voice can be omitted if the sentence without it gives enough meaning.

 Example : 

Milk is sold in litres

Rule 4. Change the base verb in active sentence into the past participle ie. third form verb in passive sentence i.e. preceded by (By, With, to, etc). Base verbs are never used in passive voice sentences.

Example: 

  • Active voice : She prepares dinner
  • Passive voice : The dinner is prepared by her
  • Active Voice : She know him
  • Passive voice : He is known to her
  • Active voice : Juice fills the Jar
  • Passive Voice : The Jar is filled with juice

Rule 5. While conversion of Active voice sentence to Passive voice sentence the pronoun used in the sentence also changes in the following manner.

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

Rule 6. Use the suitable helping or auxiliary verb (is/am/are/was, etc.). The rules for using auxiliary verbs in passive voice sentences are different for each tense.

Example:

  • The letter is written by her
  •  A book was not bought by her
  • Chocolates are being eaten by them.
Candidates preparing for Government exams can check the links for preparation:

Forms of Active And Passive Voice For All Tenses

  • Simple Present Tense 
Active Sentences Passive Sentences
He writes an Essay An essay is written by him
Sheena does the housework The housework is done by Sheena
She cares the rabbit The rabbit is been cared by her
Jacob always plays the guitar  The guitar is always played by Jacob
  • Present continuous tense
Active Sentences Passive Sentences
They are eating bananas The bananas are being eaten by them
Bob is drawing a diagram A diagram is being drawn by Bob
Samta is playing the piano A piano is being played by Samta
She is waiting for Reema Reema is being waited by her
  • Present Perfect Tense 
Active Sentences Passive Sentences
Has he done the work? Has the work been done by him?
Have they left the apartment? Has the apartment been left by them?
He created this masterpiece This masterpiece is created by him
He read the newspaper The newspaper is being read by him

Note- [except certain exemptions, no passive Voice formation for the following tenses can be formed, Present Perfect Continuous Tense, Past Perfect Continuous Tense, Future Perfect Continuous Tense and Future Continuous Tense]

  • Simple Past Tense
Active Voice Passive Voice
Ria paid the bills The bills were paid by Ria
The teacher called the student The student was called by the teacher
She did not buy the fruits The fruits were not bought by her
  • Past Progressive/Continuous Tense
Active Voice  Passive Voice
They were waiting for him He was being waited by them
Astha was learning French The french was being learnt by Astha
She was playing kabaddi The kabaddi was being played by her
  • Past Perfect Tense
Active Voice  Passive Voice
She won the match The match had been won by her
I had finished her work Her work had been finished by me
He had missed the last metro The last metro had been missed by him
  • Simple Future Tense 
Active Voice  Passive Voice
He will write a letter A letter will be written by him
He will repair her cycle Her cycle will be repaired by him
He shall start the meeting The meeting will be started by him
  • Future Perfect Tense
Active Voice  Passive Voice
Meena will not have change the bedsheet The bed sheet will not have been changed by Meena
The will have won the match The match will have been won by them
Reena will have washed the skirt The skirt will have been washed by Reena

Also, check the following for english language preparation:

Active And Passive Voice – Sample Questions 

The prominence of knowing the rules of active and passive voice for the English language section of various competitive exams can only be understood by knowing the type of questions asked in the examination based on the same.

Hence, given below are sample questions on active and passive voice asked in the English language section of various government examinations:

[Directions] In the following questions, a sentence has been given in either Active or Passive Voice. From the four options select the one which best expresses the same sentence in the opposite voice than mentioned in the question

Q.1. Never disobey your elders

  1. You are asked not to disobey your elders.
  2. You are ordered not to disobey your elders.
  3. Do not disobey your elders.
  4. You are not to disobey your elders.

Answer (1) You are asked not to disobey your elders

Q.2. The students were listening to the teacher.

  1. The teacher is listened to by the students.
  2. The teacher listened to students.
  3. The teacher was listening to by the students
  4. The teacher was listened to by the students.

Answer (4) The teacher was listened to by the students.

Q.3. I have to do it.

  1. It is be done by me.
  2. It should to be done by me.
  3. It has to be done by me.
  4. It would to be done by me.

Answer (3) It has to be done by me

Q.4.  Tell the maid to prepare tea.

  1. You are ordered to tell the maid to prepare tea.
  2. You are said to tell the maid to prepare tea.
  3. You are advised to tell the maid to prepare tea.
  4. You are asked to tell the maid to prepare tea.

Answer (4) You are asked to tell the maid to prepare tea

Q.5. Who stole your bike?

  1. Your bike was stolen by him?
  2. By whom your bike was stolen?
  3. Your bike was stolen by whom?
  4. By whom your bike stolen?

Answer (2) By whom your bike was stolen?

Apart from the MCQ type questions given above, active-passive voices are asked in reading comprehension, and error spotting as well. Check Previous Year Question Papers PDF with Solutions to understand the scope and difficulty level of question in the exams.

Almost all the exams such as SSC exam, Bank exam, RRB exam, Insurance exam or any other Government exam have a separate section for the English Language in both objective and descriptive paper.

Candidates preparing for the various government exams can refer to the detailed exam syllabus in the links given below:

Candidates must be well aware of the rules of Active and Passive Voices in English grammar so as to use them correctly without making any error in the exam. Knowledge of active and passive voice will help score good marks in the exam as well as improve the English. 

Being abreast with the rules of active and passive voice will not only enhance the vocabulary skills for descriptive sections in the examination it will improve candidates english in day to day life as well.

Aspirants preparing for the upcoming government exams must carefully go through the concept and rules of active and passive voice in English grammar as candidates tend to score the least in the English Language section.

For any further questions or information regarding the competitive exams, study material or best books for preparation, candidates can turn to BYJU’S. 

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