Usually, a Subject takes first priority in the construction of a normal sentence in English.
Passive Voice changes this usual pattern by not giving importance to the “subject” and therefore comes handy in many practical instances of communication.
Passive Voice is a grammatical construction of a sentence which gives priority to the action described in the sentence or the Receiver of the action.
As in the above example, the second sentence (The house has been painted beautifully.) does not talk about who has done the painting. It gives priority to what has been done.
Basically what is vivid in passive voice is its unique pattern in the construction of a sentence.
Passive Voice means that a sentence is written or spoken with the point of view or from the voice of the Passive Receiver of the action discussed in the particular sentence.
Suppose, we need to highlight what has happened to a girl rather than who did it, we use Passive Voice.
“She” in this sentence is the receiver of the action of someone who sent her out of the class. “she” is the passive receiver of the action. This sentence gives priority to “she” and therefore takes the voice of the Passive Receiver. Hence, takes Passive Voice.
In the sentence number 02, who sent her out of the class (The doer) is the center of focus. The “rude teacher” which is the subject of this sentence receives the attention here.
|01||The drink||is poisoned.|
|02||The paper||was stolen.|
A Passive Voice Sentence has a subject which is not the doer of the action in the sentence. The subject of a Passive Voice Sentence is the one who is the passive receiver of the action.
In some of the Passive Voice Sentences, the doer is added to the end of it with the help of the preposition “by”.
Thus, in a passive voice sentence, the doer does not receive priority. If we are aware who the doer is, we can add it. Adding doer to the sentence is optional.
|The room||was cleaned||(by) the boy.|
|The receiver of the action||The action||The doer|
|Subject of the sentence||verb|
The Passive Voice verb is basically comprised of two parts.
Passive Voice verb is formed as follows.
|Helping verb||Past Participle verb|
|The dishes are washed.||Are||Washed|
|I was told a lie.||Was||Told|
|She has been taken to the hospital.||Has been||Taken|
|He is being blamed at the principal’s office.||Is being||blamed|
A verb can have following different forms and it is the Past Participle form of verb which we use in forming the Passive Voice verb. This part of the verb does remain unchanged despite of the Subject or the Tense indicated in the Passive Voice sentence.
Past Participle form of the verb is an incomplete verb form. It is also known as V3.
|eat||- base form
(Simple Present Tense– Plural verb)
|eats||- Simple Present Tense – Singular verb|
|ate||- Past form|
|eating||- Present Participle Form|
|eaten||- Past Participle Form (V3)|
In case of Regular verbs, the Past Participle form is similar to the past form of a verb. Let’s clarify this with an example.
|work||- base form
(Simple Present Tense – Plural verb)
|works||- Simple Present Tense – Singular verb|
|worked||- Past form|
|working||- Present Participle Form|
|worked||- Past Participle Form (V3)|
The helping verb in the Passive Voice Sentence is the one that denotes its tense. It also should match with the Number and the Person of the subject in the sentence.
|The dishes||are washed.|
Since the subject of this sentence “The dishes” is a plural noun, “are” is the suitable helping verb to match with the subject. Further, the helping verb “are” indicates that the Tense of this sentence is “Simple Present”.
As in the above examples, the verb has been formed with a suitable helping verb to match with the subject of the Passive Voice Sentence and then the main verb in its V 3 form (Past Participle form of the verb).
|01. was told|| Was – Simple Past Tense helping verb.
Matches with the 1st person singular subject “I”.
|Told – Past Participle Form of the verb “tell”|
|02. has been taken||Has been – Present Perfect Tense helping verbs.
Matches with the 3rd person singular subject “She”.
|taken – Past Participle Form of the verb “take”|
|03. is being taken|| is being – Present Continuous Tense helping verbs.
Matches with the 3rd person singular subject “he”.
|blamed – Past Participle Form of the verb “blamed”|
Active Voice Sentences take the voice of the one who performs the action. Accordingly the subject of an action voice sentence is the one who performs the action described in the sentence. Since the doer of the action is same as the Subject of the sentence, the doer receives priority in active voice.
Her mother washes her clothes.
|Her mother||washes||her clothes.|
|One who performs the action||The action||Receiver of the action.|
|Subject of the sentence||verb||Object|
Passive Voice Sentences take the voice of the passive receiver of the action. Accordingly the subject of a Passive Voice sentence is the Passive Receiver, not the one who does the action. Since the doer of the action is not as same as the Subject of the sentence, the doer does not receive priority in passive voice.
Her clothes are washed by her mother.
|Her clothes||are washed||by her mother.|
|One who undergoes the action of the verb||The action||One who performs the action|
|Subject of the sentence||verb||Object|
Let’s discuss how we change an active voice sentence into Passive voice.
|Subject||verb||object||rest of the Sentence|
|The books||are kept||here||by us. (Optional)|
|Subject||verb||rest of the Sentence||object|
Some sentences best communicate the intended idea when they are written in Active Voice.
Some sentences best communicate the intended idea when they are written in Passive Voice.
| Simple Present
(am, is, are)
|We keep the books here.||The books are kept here.|
| Present Continuous
(am, is, are)
|We are keeping the books here.||The books are being kept here.|
| Present Perfect
|We have kept the books here.|| The books have been kept here.
(Has / have +been)
| Simple Past
|We kept the books here.||The books were kept here.|
| Past Continuous
|We were keeping the books here.||The books were being kept here.|
| Past Perfect
|We had kept the books here.||The books had been kept here.|
|We will keep the books here.||The books will be kept here.|
|Future Continuous||We will be keeping the books here.||—-----|
|We will have kept the books here.||The books will have been kept here.|
|Simple Present Tense Passive Voice|| am / is + Past Participle Verb
eg: am taught
| are + Past Participle verb
|Present Continuous Tense Passive Voice|| am / is + being + Past Participle Verb
eg: am being taught
is being taught
|are + being + Past Participle verb
are being taught
|Present Perfect Tense Passive Voice||Has + been + Past Participle Verb
Has been taught
| have + been + Past Participle Verb
have been taught
|Simple Past Tense Passive Voice|| was + Past Participle Verb
eg: was taught
| were + Past Participle verb
|Past Continuous Tense Passive Voice|| was + being + Past Participle Verb
eg: was being taught
| were + being + Past Participle verb
were being taught
|Past Perfect Tense Passive Voice|| had + been + Past Participle Verb
Had been taught
| had + been + Past Participle Verb
had been taught
|Simple Future Tense Passive Voice|| Will be + Past Participle verb
Eg; Will be taught
| Will be + Past Participle Verb
eg: will be taught
|Future Perfect Tense Passive Voice|| Will have + been + Past Participle Verb
Will have been taught
| Will have + been + Past Participle Verb
Will have been taught
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