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Passive Voice

Passive Voice

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Exploring the Active and Passive Voices in English Language

English language has two grammatical voices: active and passive. In this article, we will delve into the details of the passive voice.

The Definition of Grammatical Voice

Grammatical voice refers to the relationship between the verb and the subject or object in a sentence. It indicates whether the subject is performing an action actively or is passive and receiving the action.

Understanding the Passive Voice

In the passive voice, the subject or object is acted upon by the verb, rather than being the doer of the action. For instance, in the sentence "The pizza was eaten before we arrived," the pizza is the subject receiving the action of being eaten.

It can also be viewed as the subject being passive and not taking any significant action.

The Characteristics of Passive Voice

The passive voice is characterized by the use of a past participle and a form of "to be" in the sentence. It is often preceded by a "-by" phrase, indicating who or what is performing the action.

The Two Types of Passive Voice

There are two types of passive voice: short and long.

Short Passive Voice

Short passive voice is used when the subject or performer is unknown. In this case, the focus is on the action itself, rather than on who or what is performing it.

Long Passive Voice

On the other hand, long passive voice occurs when the object becomes the subject of the sentence. This means that the object is now receiving the action, and the previous subject becomes the object.

Understanding the Difference Between Subjects and Objects

To comprehend the passive voice better, it is essential to know the difference between subjects and objects. The subject is the doer of the action, while the object is the receiver of the action. For example, in the sentence, "Sally ate the pizza before we arrived," Sally is the subject, and the pizza is the object.

Examples of Passive Voice

Here are five examples that illustrate the use of passive voice:

  • The pizza was eaten.
  • The ball was thrown through the window.
  • Promises were made.
  • The tiles were replaced.
  • The accident involved two cars.

The President made promises.

Promises were made by the President.

In these examples, the passive voice is used because the object (promises) becomes the subject, and the previous subject (the President) becomes the object.

The Significance of Using Active Voice

Although passive voice is not always incorrect, writing in active voice can make your writing clearer and more engaging. To change a sentence from passive to active voice, you must rearrange the word order and verb. Active voice follows a subject-verb-object pattern and uses active verbs.

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