The active voice is employed in writing when the subject of the sentence carries out the action, while the passive voice is used when the subject receives the action. Passive voice can emphasize the object of the action or obscure the identity of the person performing the action.
This article discusses how to convert sentences from active to passive voice, the situations in which passive voice is appropriate, and common mistakes to avoid.
Table of Contents
Understanding Active and Passive Voice
Before delving into the conversion process, it’s crucial to comprehend active and passive voice. In active voice, the subject performs the action, as in “The cat chased the mouse.” In passive voice, the sentence is rewritten as “The mouse was chased by the cat,” shifting the focus to the object of the action.
When to Use Passive Voice?
Passive voice is suitable when emphasizing the object of the action or when obscuring the doer’s identity. For instance, “The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci” directs attention to the painting rather than the painter.
While passive voice has its merits, it should be used judiciously. Overuse can make writing tedious and unclear, especially in contexts where clarity and conciseness are essential.
Converting from Active to Passive Voice
To convert a sentence from active to passive voice :
- Identify the subject, verb, and object of the sentence.
- Move the object to the beginning of the sentence to make it the subject.
- Add the auxiliary verb “to be” and the past participle of the main verb.
Examples of Conversion
- Active Voice: The teacher graded the exams.
Passive Voice: The exams were graded by the teacher.
- Active Voice: The company is developing a new product.
Passive Voice: A new product is being developed by the company.
Rules for Conversion
- Identify the subject and object.
- Change the object to the subject, maintaining the original verb.
- Add a form of the verb “to be” before the past participle.
- Use the appropriate verb form according to the tense.
- Include the agent if necessary, introduced by “by.”
- Change prepositions and pronouns as needed.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Confusing the object and subject.
- Forgetting to include the agent when necessary.
- Overusing passive voice.
- Using passive voice to evade responsibility.
Converting sentences from active to passive voice can enhance writing, but it should be done thoughtfully. By following the outlined steps, understanding when to use passive voice, and avoiding common mistakes, writers can effectively utilize this grammatical structure to improve the clarity and impact of their writing.