Active and Passive Voice: Tense-wise Rules
Simple Present tense
An Active sentence in the simple present tense has the following structure:
Subject + first form of the verb + object
A passive sentence in the simple present tense has the following structure:
Object of the active sentence + is/am/are + past participle form of the verb + by + subject of the active sentence
Changing an assertive sentence into the passive
Active: I write a letter.
Passive: A letter is written by me.
Active: I help you.
Passive: You are helped by me.
Active: I love my parents.
Passive: My parents are loved by me.
Active: We love our country.
Passive: Our country is loved by us.
Changing a negative sentence into the passive
Active: I do not write a letter.
Passive: A letter is not written by me.
Active: I do not abuse my servants.
Passive: My servants are not abused by me.
Active: I do not write novels.
Passive: Novels are not written by me.
Active: He does not tease her.
Passive: She is not teased by him.
Changing an interrogative sentence into the passive
Structure: Is/are/am + object of the active verb + past participle form of the verb + by + subject of the passive verb
Active: Do you write a letter?
Passive: Is a letter written by you?
Active: Do you write stories?
Passive: Are stories written by you?
Active: Does she make candles?
Passive: Are candles made by her?
Active: Who does not obey you?
Passive: By whom are you not obeyed?
Active: Which newspaper do you read?
Passive: Which newspaper is read by you?
Active: Does she do her duty?
Passive: Is her duty done by her?
The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb. Therefore, sentences which do not have an object cannot be changed into the passive. The following sentences, for instance, cannot be changed into the passive because they do not have objects.
The old man sat in a corner.
The child sleeps.
The wind blows.
The dog barks.
The fire burns.
He laughed aloud.
|Tense||Active voice||Passive voice|
|Simple present tense||Verb form: first form of the verb
They speak English here.
He speaks English.
|Verb form: is / am / are + past participle form of the verb
English is spoken here.
English is spoken by him.
|Present continuous tense||Verb form: is/am/are + -ing form of the verb
She is writing a letter.
I am learning my lessons.
You are making a cake.
|Verb form: is/am/are + being + past participle form of the verb
A letter is being written by her.
My lessons are being learnt by me.
A cake is being made by you.
|resent perfect tense||Verb form: has/have + past participle form of the verb
I have written a novel.
She has finished the job.
You have written letters.
|Verb form: has/have + been + past participle form of the verb
A novel has been written by me.
The job has been finished by her.
Letters have been written by you.
|Simple past||Verb form: past tense form of the verb
I wrote a letter.
Ram broke a glass.
You missed the chance.
|Verb form: was/were + past participle form of the verb
A letter was written by me.
A glass was broken by Ram.
The chance was missed by you.
|Past continuous tense||Verb form: was/were + -ing form of the verb
I was learning my lessons.
She was writing a report.
They were making toys.
|Verb form: was/were + being + past participle form of the verb
My lessons were being learnt by me.
A report was being written by her.
Toys were being made by them.
|Past perfect tense||Verb form: had + past participle form of the verb
I had finished the project.
She had learned her lessons.
|Verb form: had + been + past participle form of the verb
The project had been finished by me.
Her lessons had been learned by her.
|Simple future tense||Verb form: will/shall + first form of the verb
I will finish the job.
She will solve the problem.
|Verb form: will/shall + be + past participle form of the verb
The job will be finished by me.
The problem will be solved by her.
|Future perfect||Verb form: will/shall + have + past participle form of the verb
I will have finished the job.
She will have solved the problem.
|Verb form: will/shall + have + been + past participle form of the verb
The job will have been finished by me.
The problem will have been solved by her.
Sentences are given in the active voice. Change them into the passive voice.
- He teaches English.
- The child is eating bananas.
- She is writing a letter.
- The master punished the servant.
- He was writing a book.
- Who wrote this letter?
- Somebody cooks meal every day.
- He wore a blue shirt.
- May God bless you with happiness!
- They are building a house.
- I have finished the job.
- I sent the report yesterday.
- She bought a diamond necklace.
- Somebody had stolen my purse.
- Englishis taughtby him.
- Bananasare being eatenby the child.
- A letteris being writtenby her.
- The servantwas punishedby the master.
- A bookwas being writtenby him.
- By whomwas this letter written?
- Mealis cookedby someone every day.
- A blue shirtwas wornby him.
- May you be blessedwith happiness!
- A houseis being builtby them.
- The jobhas been finishedby me.
- The reportwas sentyesterday.
- A diamond necklacewas boughtby her.
- My pursehad been stolenby somebody.
Rewrite the following sentences so that the verbs will be in the active voice.
- We are taught grammar by Ms Sullivan.
2. He was praised by the teacher.
3. The injured were taken to the hospital by the firemen.
4. The town was destroyed by an earthquake.
5. The teacher was pleased with the boy’s work.
6. The building was damaged by the fire.
7. By whom were you taught French?
8. You will be given a ticket by the manager.
9. The streets were thronged with spectators.
10. We will be blamed by everyone.
11. The trees were blown down by the wind.
12. The thieves were caught by the police.
13. The letter was posted by Alice.
14. We were received by the hostess.
15. The snake was killed with a stick.
16. The minister was welcomed by the people.
17. He was found guilty of murder.
18. This house was built by John Mathews in 1991.
- Ms Sullivanteaches us grammar.
2. The teacher praised him.
3. The firemen took the injured to the hospital.
4. An earthquake destroyed the town.
5. The boy’s work pleased the teacher.
6. The fire damaged the building.
7. Who taught you French?
8. The manager will give you a ticket.
9. Spectators thronged the streets.
10. Everyone will blame us.
11. The wind blew down the trees.
12. The police caught the thieves.
13. Alice posted the letter.
14. The hostess received us.
15. They/somebody killed the snake with a stick.
16. The people welcomed the minister.
17. They found him guilty of murder.
18. John Mathews built this house in 1991.