Active and Passive Voice Definition, Rules & Useful Examples 1

Active and Passive Voice Definition, Rules & Useful Examples

Passive Voice! Learn active voice and passive voice rules, useful active vs passive definition and examples with ESL printable worksheets and video lessons.

What is Passive Voice?

What is active voice? What is passive voice? learn active voice definition & passive definition with examples.

Active voice definition:

Generally, we tend to use the active voice – one of the two voices of verbs (active and passive voice). When the verb of a sentence is in the active voice, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb.

Active voice examples:

  • She would type the letters.
  • I visited my uncle last week.

Passive definition:

The passive voice is a grammatical voice of verb where what would be the object of a corresponding active sentence becomes the subject of a sentence in the passive voice. The passive voice is formed with the appropriate tense of the verb to be + past participle.

Passive examples:

  • The letters would be typed by her.
  • My uncle was visited by me last week.

More active vs passive voice example sentences:

  • The snake might have killed him. (Active) –> He might have been killed by the snake. (Passive)
  • My father had Tom wash his car. (Active) –> My father had his car washed by Tom. (Passive)

Examples of active and passive voice for different tenses in English

Examples of active and passive voice for different tenses in English

Passive Voice Rules & Usage with Examples

The passive is used:

  • When the agent (= the person who does the action) is unknown, unimportant or obvious from the context.

Examples:

Jane was shot. (We don’t know who shot her.)

This house was built in 1815. (unimportant agent).

  • To make more polite or formal statements.

Examples:

The trees haven’t been watered. (more polite)

You haven’t watered the trees. (less polite)

  • When the action is more important than the agent, as in processes, instructions, events, reports, headlines, news items, and advertisements.

Example:

60 people were killed in shootings across Chicago between Friday and Monday morning.

  • To put emphasis on the agent.

Example:

The new bar will be opened by Sean.

Active and Passive Voice for All Tenses

Learn passive vs active voice for different tenses in English, please note that:

  • V1: Base Form of Verb
  • V2: Past Simple
  • V3: Past Participle

Present Simple Tense

Active Voice:

S + V1

Passive voice:

S + am/ is/ are + V3

Example:

I make a cake. (Active)

A cake is made by me. (Passive)

Present Continuous Tense

Active voice:

S + am/is/are + V-ing

The passive:

S + am/ is/ are + being + V3

Example:

They are planting some trees. (Active)

Some trees are being planted. (Passive)

Present Perfect Tense

Active voice:

S + have/ has + V3

Passive voice:

S + have/ has + been + V3

Example:

Someone has eaten my muffin. (Active)

My muffin has been eaten. (Passive)

Present Perfect Continuous

Active Voice:

S + have/ has + been + V-ing

The Passive:

S + have/ has + been + being + V3

Active and passive voice example:

Lisa has not been practicing English. (Active)

English has not been being practiced by Lisa. (Passive)

Future with WILL

Active voice:

S + will/ shall + V1

Passive voice:

S + will be + V3

Active and passive voice example:

My parents will take us to the park. (Active)

We will be taken to the park by our parents. (Passive)

Future with BE GOING TO

Active voice:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + V1

Passive voice:

S + am/ is/ are going to be + V3

Active and passive voice example:

I am going to read the book. (Active)

The book is going to be read by me. (Passive)

Future Continuous with WILL

Active Voice:

S + will/ shall + be + V-ing

The Passive:

S + will/ shall + be + being + V3

Active and passive voice example:

She will be taking care of her children at this time tomorrow. (Active)

Her children will be being taken care of at this time tomorrow. (Passive)

Future Continuous with BE GOING TO

Active voice:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + be + V-ing.

Passive voice:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + be + being + V3.

Example:

Linda is going to be preparing dinner. (Active)

Dinner is going to be being prepared by Linda. (Passive)

Future Perfect with WILL

Active voice:

S + will + have + V3

Passive voice:

S + will have been + V3

Example:

I will have finished my report by the end of this month. (Active)

My report will have been finished by the end of this month.. (Passive)

Future Perfect with BE GOING TO

Active voice:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + V3

The Passive:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + been + V3

Example:

I am going to have finished my report by the end of this month. (Active)

My report is going to have been finished by the end of this month. (Passive)

Future Perfect Continuous with WILL

Active voice:

S + will + have + been + V-ing

The Passive:

S + will + have + been + being + V3

Example:

I will have been teaching English for 5 years by next week. (Active)

English will have been being taught by me for 5 years by next week. (Passive)

Future Perfect Continuous with BE GOING TO

Active voice:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + been + V-ing.

The Passive:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + been + being + V3.

Example:

He is going to have been watching TV. (Active)

TV is going to have been being watched by him. (Passive)

Past Simple

Active voice:

S + V2

Passive voice:

S + was/ were + V3

Example:

I visited my uncle last week. (Active)

My uncle was visited by me last week. (Passive)

Past Continuous

Active voice:

S + was/ were + V-ing

Passive voice:

S + was/ were + being + V3

Example:

Sam was delivering the letters to the department. (Active)

The letters were being delivered to the department by Sam. (Passive)

Past Perfect

Active voice:

S + had + V3

The Passive:

S + had been + V3

Example:

He had read the book before Nick came. (Active)

The book had been read before Nick came. (Passive)

Past Perfect Continuous

Active voice:

S + had + been + V-ing

Passive voice:

S + had + been + being + V3

Example:

I had been typing the essay for 3 hours before you came yesterday. (Active)

The essay had been being typed for 3 hours before you came yesterday. (Passive)

Future in the Past (Would)

Active voice:

S + would + V1

The Passive:

S + would + be + V3

Example:

She would type the letters. (Active)

The letters would be typed by her. (Passive)

Causative Form

Active voice:

S + have/ has somebody + V1 + something

S + get(s) somebody + to + V1 + something

Passive voice:

S+ have/ has/ get(s) something + V3 + (by + someone).

Example:

My father had Tom wash his car. (Active)

My father had his car washed by Tom. (Passive)

Modal Verbs (Present)

Active voice:

S + modal verb + V1

The Passive:

S + modal verb+ be + V3

Example:

You can solve the problem. (Active)

The problem can be solved. (Passive)

Modal Verbs (Present Perfect)

Active voice:

S + modal verb + have + V3

The Passive:

S + modal verb + have + been + V3

Example:

The snake might have killed him. (Active)

He might have been killed by the snake. (Passive)

Passive Voice Rules for All Tenses | Image

Passive Voice Rules for All Tenses

Passive Voice Video

Active and passive voice examples for different tenses.

Using the passive with all tenses in English.

2 Comments

  1. AIN June 7, 2018
  2. Anonymous November 24, 2018

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