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What is Active and Passive Voice? Exercises and Examples (PDF)

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Active and passive voice are two ways of talking about actions in English.

In active voice, the subject is doing the action. It’s simple and direct. For example, “She is eating the apple”.

In passive voice, the subject receives the action. It’s often used when the doer of the action is not so important, or when we don’t know who did it. For example, “The apple is being eaten”.

Understanding when to use each can help you speak and write more effectively.

What is Active Voice?

In active voice sentences, the subject is doing the action. In other words, the subject doing the action and the action are always clear. If the subject doing the action is in the sentence, that sentence is an active sentence.

Active Voice Examples:

She reads a book every evening.
He bakes delicious cookies.
The dog chases the ball.
They watch a movie on Fridays.
I clean my room on Saturdays.
We play soccer in the park.
The teacher explains the lesson.
He paints a beautiful picture.
She eats an apple for a snack.
They drive to work together.

 

The form most used in everyday English conversation is active voice sentences.

 

What is Passive Voice?

Passive voice is used when the person doing the action is unknown or unimportant. In other words, passive sentences are not used by the person doing the action, but by the person affected by the action.

Passive voice examples:

A book is read by her every evening.
Delicious cookies are baked by him.
The ball is chased by the dog.
A movie is watched by them on Fridays.
My room is cleaned on Saturdays.
Soccer is played in the park.
The lesson is explained by the teacher.
A beautiful picture is painted by him.
An apple is eaten for a snack by her.
Work is driven to together by them.

 

Remember!

In active sentences the subject of the sentence is the person or thing that does the action. In passive sentences, the verb is performed by someone or something other than the subject!

Active and Passive Voice in All Tenses

You can use the passive voice in almost all verb tenses. Check these examples:

ActivePassive
I cooked the meal.The meal is cooked by me.
I am cooking the meal.The meal is being cooked by me.
I have cooked the meal.The meal has been cooked by me.
I cooked the meal.The meal was cooked by me.
I was cooking the meal.The meal was being cooked by me.
I will cook the meal.The meal will be cooked by me.

 

Active and Passive Voice Rules

Simple Present TenseSubject + Verb+ object

I make a cake.

Subject+ am/is/are + V3 + by

A cake is made by me.

Present Continuous TenseSubject+ to be (am/is/are) + V-ing + Object

I am making a cake.

Subject+ am/is/are + being + V3 + by

A cake is being made by me.

Simple Past TenseSubject+ V2 + Object

I made a cake yesterday.

Subject+ was/were + V3 + by

A cake was made by me yesterday.

Past Continous Tense

 

Subject+ was/were + V-ing

I was making a cake.

Subject + was/were + being + V3 + by

A cake was being made by me.

Future TenseSubject+ will + V1

I will make a cake.

Subject+ will + be + V3 + by

A cake will be made by me.

The Present Perfect TenseSubject+ have/has + V3

I have made a cake.

Subject + have/has + been + V3 + by

A cake has been made by me.

Past Perfect TenseSubject+ had + V3

I had made a cake.

Subject+ had + been + V3 + by

A cake had been made by me.

Check Also:

500+ English Verbs List (V1 V2 V3 Verb Forms)

Active and Passive Voice PDF

If you want to learn more about the active and passive voice, you can download the free Active and Passive Voice PDF below. In this e-book you will find out how to use the auxiliary verb ‘be’, a detailed guide to the verb tenses used in the active and passive voice, and when to use the passive voice in your writing and speaking.

  Active and Passive Voice PDF – download

  Active and Passive Voice Exercises PDF – download

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