Active and Passive Voices: tips on how to write the perfect book | Tn Odu | Literary Agent | Phantom House Books NGR | A.k.a Nigeria’s phantom publisher

Posted: February 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Active Voice, Passive Voice
There are two special forms for verbs called voice:
1. Active voice
2. Passive voice
The active voice is the “normal” voice. This is the voice that we use most of the time. You are probably already familiar with the active voice. In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb:
active
subject
verb
object
>
Cats
eat
fish.
The passive voice is less usual. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb:
passive
subject
verb
object
<
Fish
are eaten
by cats.
The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb:
subject
verb
object
active
Everybody
drinks
water.
passive
Water
is drunk
by everybody.

Passive Voice
The passive voice is less usual than the active voice. The active voice is the “normal” voice. But sometimes we need the passive voice. In this lesson we look at how to construct the passive voice, when to use it and how to conjugate it.
Construction of the Passive Voice
The structure of the passive voice is very simple:
subject + auxiliary verb (be) + main verb (past participle)
The main verb is always in its past participle form.
Look at these examples:
subject
auxiliary verb (to be)
main verb (past participle)
Water
is
drunk
by everyone.
100 people
are
employed
by this company.
I
am
paid
in euro.
We
are
not
paid
in dollars.
Are
they
paid
in yen?
Use of the Passive Voice
We use the passive when:
• we want to make the active object more important
• we do not know the active subject
subject
verb
object
give importance to active object (President Kennedy)
President Kennedy
was killed
by Lee Harvey Oswald.
active subject unknown
My wallet
has been stolen.
?
Note that we always use by to introduce the passive object (Fish are eaten by cats).
Look at this sentence:
• He was killed with a gun.
Normally we use by to introduce the passive object. But the gun is not the active subject. The gun did not kill him. He was killed by somebody with a gun. In the active voice, it would be: Somebody killed him with a gun. The gun is the instrument. Somebody is the “agent” or “doer”.
Conjugation for the Passive Voice
We can form the passive in any tense. In fact, conjugation of verbs in the passive tense is rather easy, as the main verb is always in past participle form and the auxiliary verb is always be. To form the required tense, we conjugate the auxiliary verb. So, for example:
• present simple: It is made
• present continuous: It is being made
• present perfect: It has been made
Here are some examples with most of the possible tenses:
infinitive
to be washed
simple
present
It is washed.
past
It was washed.
future
It will be washed.
conditional
It would be washed.
continuous
present
It is being washed.
past
It was being washed.
future
It will be being washed.
conditional
It would be being washed.
perfect simple
present
It has been washed.
past
It had been washed.
future
It will have been washed.
conditional
It would have been washed.
perfect continuous
present
It has been being washed.
past
It had been being washed.
future
It will have been being washed.
conditional
It would have been being washed.

 

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