English Language
Grammatical Voices

Grammatical Voices

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The Concept of Grammatical Voice Explained

The grammatical voice is a description of the connection between a verb and the subject or object it affects in a sentence.

In active voice, the subject is the one performing the action of the verb. This can be seen in sentences such as 'Tom painted the shed'. Active voice is direct, clear, and has a strong impact. It is the most commonly used grammatical voice in the English language.

Examples of active voice sentences include:

  • The dog ate the Christmas turkey.
  • The boy is feeding the ducks.
  • The receptionist will hand over the papers.
  • The cat chased the mouse.

To identify active voice, look for the subject + verb + object structure in a sentence.

In passive voice, the subject is the one receiving the action. This means the subject becomes the object in the sentence. For example, 'The shed was painted by Tom'. Here, the subject (shed) is not actively performing the action (painted) but is being acted upon by the object (Tom).

Passive voice can be either short or long. A short passive does not include the agent (the one performing the action), while a long passive does.

Examples of passive voice sentences include:

  • The ducks are being fed by the boy. (short passive)
  • The papers will be handed over by the receptionist. (long passive)
  • The mouse was chased by the cat. (short passive)

Passive voice is recognized by a conjugated form of 'to be' + past participle verb.

Active voice is more commonly used in conversation and writing. It is used to make the message clear and engaging for the audience. On the other hand, passive voice can be used when the focus is on the object or when the writer wants to be vague or create a sense of objectivity.

Understanding grammatical voice is important as it reveals the connection between an action (verb) and the one performing it (subject). It is one of the five verb properties in the English language.

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