Puzzles in Voices

1    Indirect objects are to be  given importance in Voices.

Eg: They gave me  a  warm welcome. ( A.V)  (Assertive sentence)

Here, in this active voice sentence,  we can see the two objects; the indirect object  ‘me’  and the direct object  ‘a warm welcome’.

While changing into passive voice,  the indirect object  ‘me’ is given importance, as seen below.

I was given a warm welcome by them ( P.V )

Here,   the object  me’  in  active voice  is changed into  subject form  ‘ I’   ,  as per the general rules discussed in the topic  Active and passive voices .

Another examples,

How does Tom give you food ? ( A.V)      ( Interrogative sentence)

How are you given food by Tom ? (P.V)

Serve them food (A.V )                  ( Imperative sentence)

Let they be  served food ( P.V )

If you treat them well,  they will give you everything. ( A.V )      (  complex sentence )

If they are treated well by you,  you will be given everything by them. (P.V)

        2   Interrogative sentences are grouped into ‘Question word( QW.) beginning’ and ‘Auxiliary (Aux)    beginning’.   

i)  When the  ‘QW’ is avoided,   its  pattern   becomes  similar to  that of  ‘Auxiliary beginning Interrogative sentence’,  as seen below,

Eg: Why  do you make it ?

   When the question word  ‘why’ is avoided, the sentence becomes  ‘an auxiliary beginning interrogative sentence’  as,

Do you make it ?


ii)  The  question word  ‘Who’  stands  for  the  ‘subject’ of an interrogative sentence.   So the general pattern of the      voices of the sentence are as shown below.

Active Voice:  Who + Aux+V + O ?

Eg:   Who wrote the letter ?

While being changed into Passive Voice,  the sentence starts with the question word  ‘ By whom’  as shown in the pattern below.

Passive Voice:  By whom + Aux + O + V3 ?

Eg: By  whom was the letter written?

iii)  The question word   ‘What/ (Which + noun)’    stands for the  ‘object’ of an interrogative sentence.  The general       pattern of the  voices of the sentence are as shown below,

Active Voice:  What/ (Which + noun) + Aux + S + V?

Eg:  What did he say ?

        Which shirt did Tom give ?

Passive Voice:  What/ (Which + noun) + Aux + V3 + by + S ?

 Eg: What was said by him ?

        Which shirt was given by Tom ?

      3    The patterns of voices with modal Auxiliaries(M.Aux).  ( here,  ‘will’,  ‘would’, ‘shall’,  ‘should’, ‘can’, ‘could’,  ‘may’,   ‘might’, ‘must’ )

I    A.V =  S + ( M.Aux) + V + O

     Eg: Tom can draw the picture.

    P.V =  O + ( M.Aux) + be + V3 + by + S.

    Eg:  The picture can be drawn by  Tom.

II  A.V. =  S + ( M.Aux) + be + V + ing + O

    Eg:  They might be studying English.

    P.V. =  O +  ( M.Aux) + be +  being + V3 + by + S.

    Eg:  English might be being studied by them.

III   A.V =   S +  ( M.Aux) + have + V3 + O

     Eg: You could have thanked him.

    P.V. =   O + ( M.Aux ) + have + been +  V3 + by + S

    Eg: He could have been thanked by you

IV   A.V =  Q.W + ( M.Aux) + S + V + O ?

     Eg:   How can we make them happy?

     P.V =  Q.W +  ( M.Aux) + O + be + V3 + by + S ?

     Eg:  How can they be made happy by us ?

V   A.V. =  Who + ( M.Aux) + V  + O ?

      Eg:  Who might attend the part party ?

     P.V =  By whom + (M.Aux) + O+ be + V3 ?

     Eg:  By whom might the party be attended ?

VI   A.V. =  What/ ( which + noun) + (M.Aux) + S + V ?

      Eg:   Which jeans would you wear ?

     P.V. =  What/ (which + noun) + (M.Aux) + be + V3 + by + S ?

     Eg:  Which jeans would be worn by you ?

VII   A.V. =  (M.Aux) + S + V + O ?

       Eg:  Would you buy the car  ?

      P.V. =  (M.Aux) + O + be + V3 + by + S ?

      Eg:  Would the car be bought by you?

4  The voices of  imperative sentences showing  ‘suggestion’  are to be changed differently from what we have studied in the topic  Voices in imperative sentences.

Here,  we can understand  the pattern of the Active Voice of the following sentence expressing a suggestion,

Let us have coffee,  as,

Let’s ( Let us) + V + O  

The  pattern of passive voice of the sentence expressing suggestion is,

(We are suggested to) / (it is suggested to) + V + O

That is we can write the passive  voice of the above sentence as,

We are suggested to have coffee,    or

It is suggested to have cofee.

In negative meaning

Active Voice:   Let’s + not + V + O

eg : Let’s not drink the juice

Passive Voice: ( We are suggested) / (it is suggested)  +  not  to + V + O

eg : We are suggested not to drink the juice,  or

        It is suggested  not to drink the juice

5    The speaker of an imperative sentence is always first person   ‘ I’  or    ‘We’  and  the hearer is the second person  ‘You’ .     That is,   all imperative sentences are told  by  ‘the first person’ to  ‘the second person’.

      Let’s look at the following conversations between  ‘Mary’  and  ‘her teacher’.

      Teacher : “Bring your note books tomorrow”

      Mary      :  “of course..!”

      Here,  we have to concern only about  teacher’s dialogue, because it is an imperative sentence.

      As far as the teacher  is concerned,  she is the first person ( I )   and    Mary is the second person (You) that is why,  the teacher doesn’t mention  the name Mary in her dialogue  and also  Mary understands it  and limits her dialogue in a phrase.( of course..!)

So, here the action  ‘bring’  is to be done by the second person ‘you’ ( Mary)


Hence,  we can understand that the subject of every imperative sentence is  ‘You’ ( the second person)

6  If  there is no object in an imperative sentence sentence, the voices of the sentence can’t be changed. But, if asked in an exam , we will have to change voices by depending on the following patterns.

In positive meaning imperative sentence

Active Voice:

 V +  (Adverb/ phrase)

eg:  Go slow. ( an advice )

Passive voice :  

You are told / requested / warned / advised / ordered / commanded / suggested + to + V + ( Adverb/ phrase);   ( in accordance with the situation)

eg: You are advised to go slow. ( since  it is an advice )

In negative meaning imperative sentence

Active Voice:

Don’t + V + ( Adverb/ phrase )

eg:  Don’t move ( warning )

Passive Voice:

You are  told / requested / warned / advised / ordered / commanded / suggested + not +  to + V + ( Adverb/ phrase);   ( in accordance with the situation)

eg: You are warned not to move   ( since it is a warning)

Another example,

You are ordered  to come tomorrow at the earliest ( Passive Voice)

Come tomorrow at the earliest ( Active Voice )

Now let’s go to another important topic   Reported speech

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