Voice describes the relationship between the verb and the subject. When the subject is the doer of the action, the verb is said to be the active voice. When the subject is the receiver of the action, the verb is said to be in the passive voice.
Active voice is the most common type of voice in both spoken and written English and is generally considered to be default voice. For active voice sentences, use verb form instead of the noun form of the words.
For example: ‘’decided’’ instead of ‘’made adecision’’, ‘’explain’’ instead of ‘’give an explanation’’ and so on.
Passive voice is mostly used in scientific and official writing.
Passive voice cannot be used when:
- The sentence has an intransitive verb
An intransitive verb does not have an object.
For example: The dog was sleeping.
- The object is a clause.
For example: They wanted us to stay for another two days.
- Passive voice is not used if the sentence is interrogative.
For example: Who taught you maths?
Use the passive voice when:
- The action or the receiver of the action is more important than the doer or when you do not wish to emphasise the subject of the sentence.
She always gets praised by her parents.
- You want to make the sentence softer and less hostile.
For example: This bill is not been paid.
- To avoid taking the blame
A mistake was made.
To change active voice sentence into a passive voice
- Make the object of the active voice sentence the subject of the passive voice sentence.
- Replace the active verb with a matching passive one.
- Use the preposition ‘’by’’ before the agent.
Make the subject of the active voice the object of the preposition ‘’by’’ in the passive voice.