Active and passive voices

Voices, meaning grammatically the way of speaking or writing a sentence, are classified into  ‘two’  types


The way of ‘giving importance to subject‘  in a sentence is termed as  ‘Active Voice’.

The general pattern of a sentence in Active Voice is  ‘S + V + O’  ( commonly considered as the pattern of sentences, as explained in the topic  Sentences .)

eg: Martin wrote a letter.

As we know,  the ‘subject‘  here is  ‘Martin’,  ‘Verb’ is ‘wrote’  and  the Object’  is  ‘a letter’.


The way of  ‘giving importance to object’  in a sentence is known as  ‘Passive Voice’.

The general pattern of a sentence in passive voice is   ‘O + Be-forms + V3 + by + S’

eg: A letter was written by Martin.

Here,  the ‘object’  is  ‘A letter’,   ‘be- forms’ is  ‘was’ ,   ‘V3’  form is   ‘written’ ( of the verb ‘write’ ) and  the  ‘subject’  is  ‘Martin’.

#  Points to remember

1  The  ‘Verb form’  of the sentences in Passive Voice is always  ‘Be-forms + V3’.

2  If the  ‘subject’  or   ‘object’  is  in ‘pronoun form’,  it may be changed mutually , as shown below.

ACTIVE VOICE  (A.V)        —————————>          PASSIVE VOICE  (P.V)


     I                                                                                        me

     We                                                                                    us

    He                                                                                     him

    She                                                                                    her

    They                                                                                 them

    Who                                                                                  whom

eg: ‘I’  speak English well. ( A.V)

      English is spoken well  by ‘me’  ( P.V)

Here, the subject  ‘I’  in  A.V  is changed as  ‘me’  in  P.V                                                                          

eg: The programme is conducted by  him’. (P.V.)              

       ‘He’ conducts the programme. (A.V)

 Here the object  ‘him’ in  P.V. is changed into  ‘He’ in  A.V.

3  The pronouns  ‘You’,  ‘It’,  ‘This’,  ‘These’,  ‘That’,  ‘Those’, etc..  are not changed in their forms.

eg: You wrote the answer. ( A.V)

      The answer was written by you ( P.V)


#  Voices can be applied in  4 types of sentences, such as,



eg:  Thomas (S)  called ( V)  him (O).   ( A.V)

       He ( O )  was called ( be-forms + V3) by Thomas ( S)  ( P.V)

Here the object  ‘Him’  is changed into  ‘He’  when  the voice is changed,  as noted above  in  ‘No. 2’ in ‘ Points to remember’

  • S = Subject,    V = Verb,  O = Object


   eg: Why did Tom call you ? ( A.V)

         Why were you called by Tom ? ( P.V)


   eg: Open the door ( A.V)

         Let the door be opened ( P.V)


eg:  The president said that our country will become the first among the world   ( A.V )

       It was said by the President that  our country will become the first among the world . ( P.V )

Voices in the above mentioned types of sentences  must be studied in detail.  

So, for  detailed study,  let’s  go through the topic  Voices in different types of sentences 

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