Passive And Active Voice – Verbs

Have you ever been told to write a paragraph “in the passive voice”? What exactly is passive voice? It is the opposite of active voice. But what is active voice? It’s simple. Let’s take a look.

The terms “passive voice” and “active voice” describes verbs as they are used in sentences. A verb is said to be in the active voice when the subject of a sentence performs an action. Look at the these sentences below. The words in red are the subjects of the sentences. The words in green are the verbs.

The boy hit the ball.
The baby cried.
The girl laughed.
I called my parents.
John cooked some rice.
Jane rides to school every day.

In the first sentence, what is the subject? The subject of the first sentence is boy because that is what we are talking about. Did the subject, boy, do something? Yes, the boy did something. What did the boy do? The boy hit (the ball). So hit is an action verb, and this action was performed by the subject of the sentence. When the action is performed by the subject of the sentence, we have a verb in what voice? The active voice. In the remaining five sentences above, the same thing happens: the subject performs the action, so all the sentences are “in the active voice”, and all the verbs in the sentences are said to be “in the active voice”.

The Passive Voice.

Sometimes, we can construct our sentences in such a way that the subject receives an action. When this happens, the verb is said to be “in the passive voice”. You can also say that the sentence itself is in the passive voice. Examples:

The ball (subject) was hit by the boy.

The water (subject) was poured into the glass.

The cows (subject) were chased across the road.

We (subject) were told to go home.

More on the verb:


Article Location: >> English >> English Language >> Grammar >> Parts of Speech >> The Verb

Keywords: noun, verb, adverb, pronoun, adjective, preposition, conjunction, interjection, parts of speech, English, language, grammar

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