Active Voice

Active Voice: Definition, Rules and Examples of the Active Voice

When we are writing, there are two different ‘voices’ that can be used, the active voice and the passive voice. The most commonly used is the active voice. In this article, we are going to be taking a closer look at what the active voice is and how it is to be used. We will also take a look at some examples to allow us to gain a greater understanding of how it works.

What Is The Active Voice?

Active Voice Definition

The active voice is when a subject acts upon the verb linked to it within the sentence. This is the most common voice used in the English language in both writing and in speaking.

You might think of it this way: in the active voice, the subject of the sentence will ‘perform’ the action of the verb. When using the active voice a sentence will be clear, strong and direct, hence this being the preferred voice of the language.

Examples Of The Active Voice

Let’s now take a look at some examples of the active voice in order to understand their structure in more depth.

  • The boy kicked the ball.
  • Elephants live in Africa.
  • The man loved his wife.

In each of these examples we can clearly see that the structure of the sentence is as follows:

Subject + verb + object

The subject of each of these sentences performs the action which the verb describes. Let’s take a look at a few more examples.

  • I drove my car.
  • The girl skipped rope.
  • My father eats pasta.
  • The mouse runs along the floor.
  • Frogs eat flies.
  • Dolphins swim in the ocean.

Rules Of The Active Voice

As with any area of grammar in the English language, there are rules surrounding the use of the active voice. We are now going to take a look at some examples of these rules so that we are better equipped to use the active voice correctly.

Depending on which tense you are speaking in will depend on the structure of the active voice.

Present Simple Tense

  • subject + verb(s) + object
  • subject +do/does +not + verb + object
  • does/do + subject + verb + object + ?

Present Continuous Tense

  • subject +to be + verb + ing + object
  • subject + to be + not + verb + ing + object
  • to be + subject + verb + ing + object + ?

Present Perfect Tense

  • subject + to have + verb + object
  • subject + to have + not + object
  • to have + subject + verb + object + ?

Past Simple Tense

  • subject + verb + object
  • subject + did + not + verb + object
  • did + subject + verb + object + ?

Past Continuous Tense

  • subject + were/was + verb + ing + object
  • subject +were/was + not + ing + object
  • were/was + subject + verb + ing + object + ?

Past Perfect Tense

  • subject + had + verb + object
  • subject + had + not + verb + object
  • had + subject + verb + object + ?

Future Simple Tense

  • subject + will + verb + object
  • subject + will + not + verb + object
  • will + subject + verb + object

Future Perfect Tense

  • subject + will + have + verb + object
  • subject + will + have + not + object
  • will + subject + have + verb + object + ?

Conclusion

The active voice is the most frequently used voice in the English language, however, there are certain rules surrounding its use. These rules lay out how the structure of the active sentence should be and make the writing or speaking strong and coherent.

Active Voice Infographic

Active Voice

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