Active and Passive Voice

Active and Passive Voice

A verb may be defined when a subject performs a set of functions. Voice is defined as the representation of the action in written form.

Voice is stated as the form of a verb which shows whether the subject performs the action in a situation or it is acted upon by the situation. Moreover, it may also be stated that when a subject performs a set of functions, the subject is stated as the doer or actor, and the sentence is written in an active voice. On the contrary, when the subject of the sentence is acted upon, the subject is the recipient of the action, it is in passive voice. Transitive and intransitive sets of verbs are also taken into purview.

Voice and its Application

Voice is the form of a verb that shows whether the subject does something or has something done in it. Indication of the grammatical subject in a voice is done with the help of verbs. This verb would indicate whether the subject performed any particular function or whether it reinvented an action performed before. In the purview of academic writing, preference has been given to active verb voice as it better aligns with the subject matter doing the action. It may be also termed here that the stronger the verbs get, the more emphasis is laid over “be ” verbs of passive voice.

Active: The mason is building the wall.

Passive: The wall is being built by the mason.

Through the above sentence, it is noticed that the above two sentences signify a similar explanation. The active sentence denoted the person as the subject and the work that he has been doing. Building the wall in the active sentence is mentioned as the working subject. In the passive voice, the being built has been iterated as the action that the doer is doing. Being built may be considered as the verb hence the sentence is in the passive voice as it seconds the work. The mason is the doer who is responsible for building the mason.

Active Voice is denoted by a verb that is said to be in “active voice” while it highlights whether the doer as mentioned in terms of the subject does some particular work. For instance whether or not the subject is mentioned, the doer of any particular action is determined by the active voice.

Passive Voice is denoted by a verb that is said to be in “passive voice” when its form denotes a particular action done to the subject. There is no need to particularly mention who is the doer of the action.

Application of Active and Passive Voice

It may be noticed in the purview of voice change that whenever the verb is changed from active to the passive form, the sentence needs to be changed while keeping intact the tense.

Active: Justine loves Rochelle.

Passive: Rochelle is loved by Justin.

In the above example Rochelle, who forms the object of love in the active voice, becomes the subject of love in the passive voice. Here it may also be iterated that since the object of a verb in the active voice becomes the subject in the passive voice, it would follow only the transitive verbs. These transitive verbs would then be mentioned in the purview of the sentence because the “intransitive verb” has no object.

The active voice is used when the agent, that is the doer of the action, needs to be made prominent. On the other hand, the passive voice is used when the subject acted upon needs to be highlighted.

Active: The guard refused him admittance.

Passive: Admittance was refused to him by the guard.

Active: The manager will give you a ticket.

Passive: A ticket will be given to you by the manager.

The above example is based on the direct and indirect speeches of verbs. Whenever a sentence is framed the speech of the sentence must be kept in consideration with the verb. For instance, either object becomes the subject of the passive verb, while the other is retained. Therefore for an instance, it may be said that the subject is not consistent enough with different types of sentence construction.

Sentence: Do you know him?

Assertive: You know him.

Passive: He is known to you.

Interrogative: Is he known to you?

The above steps are followed when the involvement of interrogative sentences beginning with auxiliary verbs such as do, did and does. It should also be noted that who in the action becomes whom in the passive.


Active and passive voices are determined by the relationship of the subject and the verb in a sentence. If the subject is the doer of the action, it is called active voice and if the subject is the recipient of an action, it is passive voice. One should remember that tense does not change with the transformation of a sentence from active to passive. The rules of the subject-verb agreement must be followed to write proper sentences in both voices.