Tuesday, September 3, 2013

ACTIVE / PASSIVE VOICE


A sentence in the active form can be changed into the passive form. Similarly a sentence in the passive form can be changed into the active form.

·         Active: Brutus stabbed Caesar.
·         Passive: Caesar was stabbed by Brutus.
·         Active: The boy killed the spider.
·         Passive: The spider was killed by the boy.
·         Active: The teacher punished the boy.
·         Passive: The boy was punished by the teacher.
·         Active: His behavior vexes me.
·         Passive: I am vexed by his behavior.

Notes:

When it is clear who the agent (doer of the action) is, it is not necessary to mention it in the passive form. In fact, this omission often makes the sentence look neater.

·         Active: The audience loudly cheered the Mayor’s speech.
·         Passive: The Mayor’s speech was loudly cheered (by the audience).
·          
The active voice is preferred when the agent (i.e. the person who performs the action) is to be made prominent. The passive voice is preferred when the agent is unknown or when we do not care to mention the agent.

The passive form is preferred in the following sentences because the agent is either unknown or unimportant.

·         Passive: My pocket has been picked.
·         Active: Somebody has picked my pocket.
·         Passive: I shall be obliged to go.
·         Active: Circumstances will oblige me to go.
·         Passive: Promises should be kept.
·         Active: One should keep one’s promises.

ACITVE AND PASSIVE VOICE
A sentence can be written in either active voice or passive voice without changing the meaning of it.
When the verb in a sentence shows that the subject is the doer of the action, the verb is in the active voice.
Examples:
1.      Children painted these pictures. (Children – subject; painted – verb; pictures – object)
2.      James writes a letter (James – subject; writes – verb; letter – object)
When the verb in a sentence shows that the subject is not the doer of the action, the verb is in the passive voice. (Generally you will find “by” in the sentence. If “by” is not there, you can put a question “Who?”, you will get an answer.)
Examples:
  1. These pictures were painted by children: (pictures – subject; painted – verb; children - object
  2. A letter is written by James (letter – subject, written – verb; James – Object)
Rules for conversion from Active to Passive Voice
  1. The subject and object are interchanged
  2. The preposition BY is added before the object
  3. The verb is changed to past participle  (3rd form of verb)
  4. A new auxiliary is added to the Past Participle form of verb.
  5. If the subject or the object in an active voice sentence is a pronoun (I, we, you, he, she, they, it) it changes: (I-me; we-us; you-you; he-him; she-her; they-them; it-it) and vice-versa.  e.g. I wrote a letter – A letter was written by me. The prefect does keep accusing me daily – I am being accused by the prefect daily.
  6. If the subject in the active voice sentence is unknown or unimportant or obvious, by + object is omitted. We make butter from cow’s milk. Butter is made from cow’s milk.
  7. If the verb in the active voice sentence has a modal in it, the verb is changed to – modal + be + the past participle.  e.g. Rajesh can lift this box. This box can be lifted by Rajesh. We should obey the rules. The rules should be obeyed.
  8. When there are two objects, only one object is interchanged. The second object remains unchanged. (He told me a story – He- subject; me – object 1; a story – object 2) ( I was told a story by him; A story was told to me by him)

The table below shows how the verb is changed into its passive voice form in different tenses.
Tense
Active Voice
Passive Voice
The simple present
He eats an apple
An apple is eaten by him.
The present continuous
He is eating an apple.
An apple is being eaten by him.
The present perfect
He has eaten an apple.
An apple has been eaten by him.
The simple past
He ate an apple.
An apple was eaten by him.
The past continuous
He was eating an apple
An apple was being eaten by him
The past perfect
He had eaten an apple
An apple had been eaten by him
The simple future
He will eat an apple
An apple will be eaten by him.
The Future continuous
He will be eating an apple.
An apple will have been eaten by him.
The Future in the past
He would have eaten an apple
An apple would have been eaten by him

Note: Some of the sentences like – sentences constructed using auxiliary verbs (Tashi is a good boy); perfect continuous tenses ( in all the three time periods – Present, Past, Future) (My room mate has been copying my homework) and intransitive verbs ( I go to temple or she has gone to the market) cannot be converted into passive form .


TENSES
ACTIVE FORM
PASSIVE FORM

SIMPLE PRESENT 

            OR

PRESENT INDEFINITE.


·         Used to present a habit or routine.
·         S + V1 OR V5 + O + E (extension)

·         I + teach (V1) + English.
·         He + teaches (V5) + English.

Use of V1& V5

·         V1 if subject is I, we, you, they, or any plural noun and V5 if subject is he, she, it, or a singular noun.

·         O + A.V (is, am, are) + V3 + by + agent.

·         English + is + taught + by + me.
·         English + is + taught + by + him.


·         Subject changes into agent.
·         Pronoun subjects change into agent by changing its form into object pronoun i.e. ‘me’ for ‘I’ and ‘him’ for ‘he’
·         If the subject is a name, it remains the same

PRESENT CONTINUOUS

              OR

PRESENT IMPERFECT.

·         Used to show continuity of action in present context.
·         S + A.V.(is, am, are) + V4 + O + E


·         I + am + writing + a letter.


·         He + is + writing + a letter

Use of A.V.(Auxiliary Verbs)

I                                                         am
He, she, it & singular noun                is
We, you, they, & plural noun           are
·         O+ A.V(is, am, are) + being + V3 + by + agent

·         A letter + is + being + written + by + me.

·         A letter + is + being + written + by + him.

PRESENT PERFECT.

·         Used to present the action that has completed just before some time or immediate past.
·         S + A.V.(have, has) + V3 + O + E

·         I + have + made + a nice chair


·         He + has + solved + the problem

Use of ‘have’ and ‘has’

·         ‘has’ is used with he, she, it and a singular noun; with other subjects we use ‘have’ as A. V.


·         O + A.V.(have, has) + been + V3 + by + agent
·         A nice chair + has + been + made by + me.
·         The problem +has +been +solved + by + him

PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS.

·         Used to represent an action that has started before and is still going on.
·         S + A.V.(have, has) + been + V4 + O + since/for + time.

·         I have been playing football since childhood.

·         He has been practicing mask dance for fifteen years.

Use of ‘since’ and ‘for’

Since – used for point of time.
For – used for a period of time.






NO PASSIVE FORM.

SIMPLE PAST

               OR

PAST INDEFINITE

Used to express habit or routine in past context.



·         S + V2  + O + E (extension)

·         I + taught (V2) + English.


·         He + taught (V2) + English.





·         S + A.V (was, were) + V3 + by + agent.

·         English + was + taught + by + me.
·         English + was + taught + by + him.


PAST CONTINUOUS  
             
                     OR

PAST IMPERFECT

Used to show continuity of action in the past context.

·         S + A.V.(was, were) + V4 + O + E


·         I + was + writing + a letter.


·         He + was + writing + a letter



Use of A.V.

I, He, she, it & singular noun           was
We, you, they, & plural noun         were


·         O+ A.V(was, were) + being + V3 + by + agent

·         A letter + was + being + written + by + me.

·         A letter + was + being + written + by + him.


PAST PERFECT

Used to show a completed action in the past context or something that was done long time back.

·         S + A.V.(had) + V3 + O + E


·         I + had + made + a nice chair


·         He + had + solved + the problem





·         O + A.V.(had) + been + V3 + by + agent

·         A nice chair + had + been + made by + me.

·         The problem +had +been +solved + by + him

PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS

Used to show an action that had started before the said time and was going on at the said point of time in the past.


·         S + A.V. (had) + been + V4 + O + since/for + time.


·         I have been playing football since childhood.


·         He has been practicing mask dance for fifteen years.










NO PASSIVE FORM.

SIMPLE FUTURE 

                 OR

FUTURE INDEFINITE

Used to show the intention of doing something as a part of routine or on regular basis in future.
·         S + shall/will + V1 + O + E


·         I + shall + teach + English.

·         He + will + teach + English.

Use of ‘shall’ & ‘will’

I, we, you, they and plurals          shall
He, she, it and singulars               will

NOTE
In modern English use of ‘will’ is accepted with all the subjects.
·         O + shall/will + be + V3 + by + agent.

·         English + will + be + taught + by + me.
·         English + will + be + taught + by + him.


FUTURE CONTINUOUS  

                      OR

FUTURE IMPERFECT

Used to present an action that will be going on at the said point of time in future.
·         S + shall/will + be + V4 + O + E

·         I + shall + be + writing + a letter.


·         He + will + be + writing + a letter


Use of A.V.

I, He, she, it & singular noun           was
We, you, they, & plural noun         were





NO PASSIVE FORM.


FUTURE PERFECT

Used to express an action that will have finished or completed by the said point of time in future.

·         S + shall/will + have + V3 + O + E


·         I + shall + have + made + a nice chair + by the next week


·         He + will + have + solved + the riddle + by evening.





·         O + shall/will + have + been + V3 + by + agent

·         A nice chair + will + have + been + made by + me + by the next week.

·         The riddle +will + have +been +solved + by + him + by evening.

FUTURE PERFECT CONTINUOUS

Used to express an action that will have started before the said point of time in future and will be going on at the said point of time in future.
·         S + shall/will + have + been + V4 + O + for/from + time.


·         I shall have been playing football from tomorrow.


·         He will have been practicing mask dance for fifteen years.



NO PASSIVE FORM.

Note:  Whenever it is evident who the agent (i.e., doer of the action) is, it is unnecessary to mention him in the passive form, and this omission gives a neater turn to the sentence. Thus in the last example the agent is not mentioned in the passive form because only those who heard the speech could have cheered it.