Voice - English Grammar Teaching Notes | EduRev

English Grammar

Created by: Abhishek Kumar

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Voice

Voice is that form of a Verb which shows whether what is denoted by the subject does something or has something done to it.

Voice is of two kinds :
(i) Active Voice
(ii) Passive Voice

Let us take a sentence :

I love my school.

In this sentence, the subject of the Transitive verb is the doer or active agent. The transitive verb love in the sentence is in the Active Voice.

Again,

My school is loved by me.

In this sentence, the subject is acted upon or suffers the action done to it. So, the transitive verb love here is in the Passive Voice.

It is seen that both the sentence -

I love my school,

and, My school is loved by me expresses the same meaning.

A verb is said to be in the Active Voice when the action denoted by it, is done by the subject. Active comes from Latin activus meaning doing.

A verb is said to be in the Passive Voice when the action denoted by it, is done by the subject. Passive comes from Latin passivus meaning suffering.

Change of Voice

To change the voice of a verb we should -

(i) make the object in the Active Voice the subject in the Passive Voice.
(ii) use the proper form of the verb to be with the past participle of the verb.
(iii) make the subject of the Active Voice an object governed by the preposition by which may be either expressed or understood.

As,

Active : I shall help you.

Passive : You will be helped by me.

Active : Dona is reading a book.

Passive : A book is being read by Dona.

Active : James has written a book.

Passive : A book has been written by James.

Active : Who opened the door?

Passive : By whom was the door opened?

Active : This box can contain no more.

Passive : No more can be contained in this box.

Active : The umpire declared him leg before wicket.

Passive : He was declared leg before wicket by the umpire.

Indirect Object in the Passive Voice

Transitive Verbs with two objects (direct and indirect) in the Active voice, retain one of them in the Passive voice, which is called a Retained Object.

Active : The clerk will give you a cheque.

Passive : A cheque will be given you by the clerk.

Or

You will be given a cheque by the clerk.

Active : Mrs. Smith teaches us English.

Passive : English is taught us by Mrs. Smith.

Or

We are taught English by Mrs.Smith.

Active : Who taught you Spanish?

Passive : By whom were you taught Spanish?

Imperative sentences in Passive Voice

To change the voice of a verb in the Imperative Mood, introduce the sentence with the verb let.

Active : Make room for him.

Passive : Let room be made for him.

Active : Tell him to go.

Passive : Let him be told to go.

Active : Give the order.

Passive : Let the order be given.

Active : Do your work.

Passive : Let your work be done.

Active : Change the voice.

Passive : Let the voice be changed.

An Intrasitive Verb has no object and so has no Passive Voice.

As,

He has appeared at the paper. — wrong
He appeared at the paper. — correct
Toni was stuck to his choice. — wrong
Toni stuck to his choice. — correct
It was happend yesterday. — wrong
It happened yesterday. — correct

Some Transitive Verbs in the Active Voice have often a passive look and are called Quassi-Passive Verbs.

As,

This cushion feels soft.A ripe apple tastes rice.
The rose smells sweet.His words sound harsh.
This book reads well.This medicine sells well.
His house lets readily.His dues looks odd.


Some Assorted Examples of the Interchange of Active and Passive Voice

Active : Circumstances will oblige me to go.

Passive : I shall be obliged to go.

Active : Someone has picked my pocket.

Passive : My pocket has been picked.

Active : Give the order.

Passive : Let the order be given.

Active : One should keep one's promise.

Passive : Promise should be kept.

Active : The Romans expected to conquer Carthage.

Passive : It was expected by the Romans that they would conquer Carthage.

Active : They made him king.

Passive : He was made king.

Active : All his friends laughed at him.

Passive : He was laughed at by all his friends.

Active : We elected Balu captain.

Passive : Balu was elected captain by us.

Active : I saw him opening the box.

Passive : He was seen by me while opening the box.

Active : We must listen to his words.

Passive : His words must be listened to.

Active : The mason is building the wall.

Passive : The wall is being built by the mason.

Active : The peon opened the gate.

Passive : The gate was opened by the peon.

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