IELTS│Passive Voice: How to Write a Perfect Essay and Make a Good Speech

A subject and verb relationship forms what is called a VOICE

We have two types of voice

  1. Active voice
  2. Passive voice
ACTIVE VOICEPASSIVE VOICE
The subject is the doer of the verb (action)The verb does the action to the subject
More directIndirect
More conciseLong
ComprehensiveA bit difficult to understand
More commonRare

The passive voice is often used by native speakers of English and it is a grammar structure in English Language. It can be used both for formal and informal speech and also in essay writing specially for IELTS.

Now the question is … Do we really need to use the passive voice? YES!

Why, When and How do we use the passive voice?

There are basically four reasons to use passive voice

  1. When the subject is unknown/ not important/ obvious (when you don’t want to say who or what did the action)
  2. When you need to shift focus of the subject (you can use the passive voice to shift the focus of the sentence)
  3. When you need to focus on the action

Now let’s look at the active voice

The active voice is a more direct way of saying something (an informal way of speaking). The active voice has the subject, the verb and an object in a sentence.

In the active voice, the subject is the doer of the action (verb); the verb is the action done while the object is the receiver of the action

Examples

Subject      +           verb        +       object

  1. The rat                     ate                    the bread
  2. The children           drank               the water
  3. The boy                    beat                  the girl
  4. The teacher             taught               the students

From the above sentence, the subject of the verb is acting, which makes it active. So it is an active sentence

  • The rat (subject) is doing the eating
  • The children (subject) is doing the drinking
  • The boy (subject) is doing the beating
  • The teacher (subject) is doing the teaching

Now let’s change the above active voice sentences into PASSIVE SENTENCE

  • The bread was eaten by the rat
  • The water was drunk by the children
  • The girl was beaten by the boy
  • The students were taught by the teacher

Considering the Reasons We Use Passive Voice

Using Passive Voice When the Subject Is Unknown/Not Important/Obvious

  • The bread was eaten by….Who? Somebody! (not necessary to mention the person)
  • The water was drunk by….Who? (the children) (not necessary to mention the person)
  • The girl was beaten by….Who? (the boy) (not necessary to mention the person)
  • The students were taught by….Who? (not necessary to mention the person)

You can mention the doer of the action, you can leave it unknown

When you want to mention the doer of the action, it is usually introduced with a preposition “by”

When You Need To Shift Focus of the Subject

The focus of the active sentence is the object, to change the active sentence to a passive sentence, the object (in the active sentence) becomes the subject of the passive sentence (the subject now receives the verb passively), the verb changes its tense while the subject can remain unknown/known if you choose to.

     The rat  ate  the bread

The bread was eaten by the rat

When you need to focus on the action

The focus of the sentence is the verb (which is the action)

  • The rat  ate  the bread

The focus of the action is “ate” which is the verb

So the action performed on the bread is “ate”

  • The children drank  the water

The focus of the action is “drank” which is the verb

So the action performed on the bread is “drank”

Transformation of an active voice to passive voice

For you to change an active voice to a passive voice, the verb to be plus the past participle of the verb is required

The verb “to be “+ the past participle of the “main verb”

For you to understand passive voice, you have to know your tenses very well

Let’s look at a few examples

Example

This sentence is in the simple present tense

  • The cows eat grass

To change this sentence to a passive sentence, conjugate the verb “to be” in the tense you are using + the main verb which will now be in the past participle “eaten”

So we have the passive sentence as:

Grass are eaten by Cows

This sentence is in the Past tense

  • The boy beat the girl

The girl was beaten by the boy

Note

Only transitive verbs (verbs that can take objects) can be transformed into passive voice while intransitive verbs (verbs that cannot take objects (like arrived, turned)) cannot be transformed into passive voice

The active voice is more concise while the passive voice is longer

Example:

  1. I ate the food yesterday

(More clear and simple)

  1. The food was eaten by me yesterday

(Long and difficult)

Now let’s do a little practice

Change the active sentence to passive sentence
  1. The boys cleaned the house
  • The house was cleaned by the boys
  1. I washed my clothes
  • My clothes were washed by me
  1. My mother cooked the food
  • The food was cooked by my mother
  1. My father bought a car
  • A car was bought by my father
  1. My sister gave me a gift
  • I was given a gift by my sister
  1. I was typing the letter
  • The letter was being typed by me
  1. She charged her phone
  • Her phone was charged by her
  1. The priest celebrated the mass
  • The mass was celebrated by the priest
  1. She bought a blue dress
  • A blue dress was bought by her
  1. My secretary arranged the files
  • The files was arranged by my secretary
  1. I typed the letter
  • The letter was typed by me

Let’s explore more of the active and passive voice with their tenses. Look at this!

TENSEACTIVEPASSIVE
Simple PresentI do my workMy work is done
Present continuousI am doing my workMy work is being done
Past simpleI did my workMy work was done
Past continuousI was doing my workMy work was being done
Present perfectI have done my workMy work has been done
Past perfectI had done my workMy work had been done
Future simpleI will do my workMy work will be done
Be going toI am going to do my workMy work is going to be done
ModalI must do my workMy work must be done

 

Please if this was helpful let me know in the comment box and you can also subscribe to receive my new posts…Thanks

You can also check out more of this on  https://smileypearl.com

Please share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on telegram
Share on pinterest
Share on email
0 0 vote
Rate this article
guest
8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x