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                         VOICE CHANGE RULES

Here we see two sentences written in front of you. Let us read them.

Sentence no. 1

The Prussian forces defeated the French in the Franco-Prussian War.

Sentence no. 2

The French were defeated by the Prussian forces in the Franco-Prussian War.

Now if we see meaning wise, both the sentences are same. So what is the difference between the two?

In sentence 1 we see :

  • `The Prussian forces` is the subject or the doer
  • `defeated` is the verb or action done
  • `the French` is the object or the sufferer

So here we see by the verb defeated that the person or persons denoted by the subject i.e. The Prussian forces does something

So the verb `defeated` is in Active voice.

Now in sentence 2 we see :

The verb i.e. were defeated denotes that something is done to the person or persons (The French) denoted by the subject (The Prussian Forces).




To define Active and Passive Voice, we can say,

  • When the subject performs an action it is said to be an Active Voice.
  • When the person or thing denoted by the subject is not active or the doer but is the sufferer or the receiver of some action, it is said to be a Passive Voice.


For example :

  • Raghu killed a tiger àActive Voice

Raghu – Subject or the doer

Killed – Transitive verb

A tiger – Object or sufferer

  • A tiger was killed by Raghu àPassive Voice

A tiger – Subject or sufferer or the receiver

was killed – action

Raghu – doer




Now we have to see when we can use the Active and Passive Voice.


  • We use Active Voice when we give more importance to the doer of the action.

Example :

Ritesh defeated Himesh in a game of chess.

(doer) (action)


  • We use Passive Voice when we give more importance to the receiver or the sufferer of the action.

Example :

Himesh was defeated by Ramesh in a game of chess.

(sufferer)   (action)


Now it is time to discuss with you the rules which will help us understand what type of sentences can be transformed into a Passive Voice.




A sentence can be written in Passive Voice when :

  • The verb used is transitive i.e. followed by an object.

Eg.  The cat killed a mouse. (ACTIVE)

Killed – transitive verb

mouse – object

A mouse was killed by the cat. (PASSIVE)

  • The subject of the Active Voice is unknown, unimportant or vague.

Eg.  The thief was caught by the police.

Aid was sent to the flood victims.

  • The occurrence is more important than the cause of the occurrence.

Eg.  The man was struck by a lightning. (PASSIVE)

was struck – occurrence

lightning – cause

  • Vague words not needed as subjects.

Eg.  He was elected the President. (PASSIVE)

  • In reports and notices.

Eg. It is believed cannibals are still there in some interior parts of Africa.

Smoking is prohibited in the hospital premises.


Here is a short table for you to understand the formation of Passive sentences.


SIMPLE PRESENT am/is/are + past participle
SIMPLE PAST was/were + past participle
PRESENT PERFECT has been/have been + past participle
PAST PERFECT had been + past participle
PRESENT CONTINUOUS am/ is/are being + past participle
PAST CONTINUOUS was/were being + past participle

Memorize the above given table and it will help you remember the formation of Passive Voice.

You will not forget it again.


By now you have understood how Active and Passive Voice is formed and its usage. Now we shall see how Active Voice is interchanged into Passive Voice in Past, Present, and Future Tense.

Below we have a set of sentences that are all in Active Voice. I shall show you how these sentences can be interchanged into Passive Voice.



  • Active : Ranjita loves yoga lessons.

Passive : Yoga lessons are loved by Ranjita.

  • Active : The girls are performing a dance on the stage.

Passive : A dance is being performed by the girls on the stage.

  • Active : Someone has stolen my necklace.

Passive : My necklace has been stolen by someone.

  • Active : You must submit this project tomorrow.

Passive : This project must be submitted by you tomorrow.

  • Active : Who teaches you French?

Passive : By whom are you taught French?

  • Active : How do you solve this problem?

Passive : How is this problem solved by you?

  • Active : Will you order the food?

Passive : Will the food be ordered by you?

  • Active : Some people donot eat fish.

Passive : Fish is not eaten by some people.

  • Active : The tourists left Sri Lanka in a hurry because of the terrorist attack.

Passive : Sri Lanka was left in a hurry by the tourists because of the terrorist attack.

  • Active : Keep these flowers in a vase.

Passive : These flowers should be kept in a vase.


  • Active : My little brother locked my room.

Passive : My room has been locked by my little brother.

  • Active : The boys were playing football on the main road.

Passive : Football was being played by the boys on the main road.

  • Active : They had completed by them before the submission date.

Passive : The assignment had been completed by thembefore the submission date.

  • Active : Did your sister practise piano?

Passive : Was piano practised by your sister?

  • Active : Did the plumber check all the pipes and fittings before leaving ?

Passive : Were all the pipes and fittings checked by the plumber before leaving?

  • Active : They operated this machine yesterday.

Passive : This machine was operated by them yesterday.

  • Active : Meena did not win the trophy for the best essay.

Passive : The trophy for the best essay was not won by Meena.

  • Active : When I was in school, I visited an oldage home.

Passive : An oldage home was visited by me when I was in Mumbai.

  • Active : Rajesh looked after his child while his wife cooked dinner.

Passive : His child was looked after by Rakesh while dinner was cooked by his wife.

  • Active : We were arranging the room and decorating it the whole evening.

Passive : The room was being arranged by us and decorated the whole evening.



  • Active : Who will take the decision in the absence of the Principal?

Passive : By whom will the decision be taken in the absence of the Principal?

  • Active : He will help us to improve our English Grammar.

Passive : We shall be helped by him to improve our English Grammar.

  • Active : You will have known your examination results by the end of this month.

Passive : The examination results will have been known to you by the end of this month.

  • Active : Shall I convey your message to your family?

Passive : Will your message be conveyed by me to you family?

  • Active : Who will teach us maths next year?

Passive : By whom shall we be taught maths next year?

  • Active : The teacher will show your mother the notebooks tomorrow.

Passive : Your mother will be shown the notebooks tomorrow.

  • Active : My uncle and aunt will celebrate their silver wedding anniversary next year.

Passive : Silver wedding anniversary will be celebrated by my uncle and aunt next year.

  • Active : Who will look after the old woman when her son is away?

Passive : By whom will the old woman be looked after when her son is away?

  • Active : People believe that Yetis can still be seen in the Himalayas.

Passive : It is believed by the people that Yetis can still be seen in the Himalayas.

  • Active : We shall not discuss more than one chapter in the remedial class.

Passive : More than one chapter will not be discussed by us in the remedial class.






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