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Transformation of Sentence: Active & Passive Voice

Interchange of active and passive voice is something that we see every now and then in any “transformation of sentence” or “do as directed” grammar test like in the ICSE exams. Here in this guide, we are going to learn the various rule sets for changing a sentence from active voice to passive voice and vice versa.

Verb forms in Active and Passive Voice

Active → Passive
Present Simple — verb1 am/is/are + Verb3
Present Continuous — am/is/are + verb+ing am/is/are + being + verb3
Present Perfect — has / have + verb3 has/have + been + verb3
Past Simple — verb2 was/were + verb3
Past Continuous — was/were + verb+ing was/were + being + verb3
Past Perfect — had + verb3 had been + verb3
Future Simple — shall/will + verb1 shall/will + be + verb3
Future Perfect — shall/will + have + verb3 shall/will + have been+ verb3

** verb1 = present form of verb; verb2 = past form of verb; verb3 = past participle form of verb
*** Passive voice is not in use for the remaining four tenses.

Examples:

  • I do it. – It is done by me.
  • I am doing it. – It is being done by me.
  • I have done it. – It has been done by me.
  • I did it. – It was done by me.
  • I was doing it. – It was being done by me.
  • I had done it. – It had been done by me.
  • I shall do it. – It will be done by me.
  • I shall have done it. – It will have been done by me.

Voice change of Questions:

  • Do you see the bird? – Is the bird seen by you?
  • Did you finish your task? – Was your task finished by you?
  • Have you heard it before? – Has it been heard by before?
  • Who teaches you English? – By whom are you taught English?
  • What are you eating? – What is being eaten by you?
  • Why haven’t you finished your work? – Why hasn’t your work been finished by you?

Voice change of Imperative sentence (order, advice, request)

Passive formats for Imperative sentence
Order:                  Let + object + be + verb3
Advice:                 Object + should (not) be + verb3
Request:              You are requested (not) to + verb1
  • Shut the door. – Let the door be shut.
  • Keep the book on the table. – Let the book be kept on the table.
  • Obey your seniors. – Seniors should be obeyed.
  • Do not hate the poor. – The poor should not be hated.
  • Please go there. – You are requested to go there.
  • Don’t smoke, please. – You are requested not to smoke.

Voice Change of Modal Auxiliaries

Can, could, should, would, may, might, need, ought etc. + be + verb3
  • He can do this. – This can be done by him.
  • We should help her. – She should be helped by us.

Voice change of Infinitives (to + verb)

to + verb → to + be + verb3
  • I have some work to do. – I have some work to be done.
  • I am going to pack the bag. – The bag is going to be packed by me.

Different preposition in place of ‘by’

  • His manner shocked me. – I was shocked at his manner.
  • I know that. – That is known to him.
  • Rahul married Ritu. – Ritu was married to Rahul.
  • Tolstoy interests me. – I am interested in Tolstoy.
  • Light filled the room. – The room was filled with light.

Miscellaneous voice change examples:

  • Honey tastes sweet. – Honey is sweet when it is tasted. (quasi-passive voice)
  • We know that Columbus discovered America. – It is known to us that America was discovered by Columbus. (complex sentence)
  • He laughed at the idea. – The idea was laughed at by him. (group verb)
  • He killed himself. – He was killed by himself. (reflexive object)
  • Tiger is called our national animal. – We call tiger our national animal. (Introduce ‘we’ as the doer)
  • My watch was stolen. – Someone stole my watch. (Introduce ‘someone’ as doer is unknown)
  • Gifts were exchanged. – People/ They exchanged gifts. (Introduce ‘people’ as doer)
  • The police arrested the man. – The man was arrested. (‘by the police’ understood)
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