Grammar

How to Change Active Sentences to Passive Sentences

How to Change Active Sentences to Passive Sentences
How to Change Active Sentences to Passive Sentences

In the lesson below we are going to describe  how to change active sentences to passive sentences, but initially you have to know about voice, active voice and passive voice. In addition, click Active and Passive Voice Complete Rules, you might find this useful too.

Voice: A grammatical term which indicates whether the subject of a sentence is the doer of action or receiver of action is called voice.

Active voice: If the subject of a sentence is the doer of action, it is called active voice.

  • Ahmad writes a letter.

Passive voice: If the subject of a sentence is the receiver of action, it is called passive voice.

  • A letter is written by Ahmad.

How to change active sentences to passive sentences?

Important points:

  1. The subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence or in other words an agent of by phrase.
  • A letter is written by Ahmad.
  1. The object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence.
  • A letter is written by Ahmad.
  1. If the subject of the active sentence is a subject pronoun, it is changed to object pronoun in a passive sentence.
  • He writes a letter.
  • A letter is written by him.
  1. If the object of the active sentence is an object pronoun, it is changed to subject pronoun in the passive sentence.
  • He sends them a letter.
  • They were sent a letter by him.
  1. The verb form in passive sentence is changed to third form or past participle.
  • He writes a letter.
  • A letter is written by him.
  1. A to be verb is used before the past participle in the passive sentence according to its tense.
  • He writes a letter.
  • A letter is written by him.
  • He wrote a letter.
  • A letter was written by him.
  1. If the subject of the active sentence is not a specific person or thing, the by phrase in the passive sentence is not necessary.
  • Someone writes a letter.
  • A letter is written (by someone.)
  1. If the main verb of an active sentence is transitive, it can be changed to a passive sentence.
  • Jalali writes a grammar book.
  • A grammar book is written by Jalali.
  1. If the main verb of an active sentence is intransitive, it cannot be changed to a passive sentence.
  • He goes to school.
  • School is gone by him. (Incorrect)
  1. Besides preposition “by”, some other prepositions such as, because of, due to, and through could be also used in the by phrase of the passive sentence.
  • The match was canceled due to rain.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

Note 1:Transitive verb: If a verb takes object directly, it is called transitive verb.

  •  Jalali writes a grammar book.  (Active)
  •  A grammar book is written by Jalali.  (Passive)

Note 2: Intransitive verb: If a verb does not take an object directly or a preposition comes between the main verb and the object, it is called intransitive verb.

  • He goes to school.   (Active)                                 
  • School is gone by him.   (Passive Incorrect)

Note 3: If the active sentence begins with ‘no-one’ or ‘nobody’ the passive sentence will be negative.

  • No-one turned on the light. (Active) 
  • The light was not turned on. (Passive)

Note 4: If there is a preposition between the transitive verb and the object, the preposition will remain after the verb.

  • They talked about the issue. (Active) 
  • The issue was talked about. (Passive)

Note 5: Some sentences have both an object and a person in the object position. You can choose either one to formulate the passive sentence.

  • I gave him five rupees. (Active)      
  • Five rupees were given to him./ He was given five rupees. (Passive)

Note 6: Note the position of the adverb of manner. (well) in the passive voice.

  • We’ll look after you well. (Active)     
  • You will be well looked after. (Passive)

Note 7: In the Passive Voice, the following verbs to believe, to consider, to say, to think and to suppose must be built with an infinitive clause.

  • People believe he is a spy. (Active) 
  • He is believed to be a spy. (Passive)
  • They said he is a good candidate. (Active) 
  • He was said to be a good candidate. (Passive)

Note 8: Some verbs are used almost exclusively in the passive voice:

  • born
  • hospitalized 
  • strewn 
  • populated 
  • shipped

Attempt Active and Passive Voice Exercise

Conclusion:

Would you like to know more about active and passive voice? Check out the useful articles below:

We have tried to include all the necessary rules about changing active sentences to passive. We hope this was helpful. Please feel free to leave your feedback about the article in the comment box below.

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4 comments

Robson December 21, 2018 at 6:00 am

Hello, Bismo.
In the topic 4, can we say:
A letter was sent to them by him?

Reply
BISMO December 21, 2018 at 3:02 pm

Hi,
Yeah, according to the rules of grammar in changing active voice into passive your sentences is correct and gives a complete sense.

Reply
Marwan January 30, 2019 at 1:11 am

Thanks a lot

Reply
BISMO January 30, 2019 at 11:27 am

Welcome, hope it is helpful to you.

Reply

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