Difference Between Active and Passive Voice

Main Difference – Active vs Passive Voice

In grammar, the voice indicates whether the action of the verb is performed by the subject or performed upon the subject. There are two voices in English: active voice and passive voice. A sentence is considered to be in active voice if the subject is performing the action. A sentence is considered to be in passive if the action is performed on the subject. This the main difference between active and passive voice.

What is Active Voice

If the subject performs the action, then the sentence can be considered as in active voice. Most of the sentence constructions we find in daily use are in active voice. Actives voice sentences are more direct and short than passive voice sentences. Therefore, they are less confusing and less ambiguous. The best way to identify an active sentence is to identify the subject and then ask the question whether the subject is performing the action. In an active voice sentence, the doer (person or thing performing the action) is at the beginning of a sentence, and the receiver of the action is after the verb.

Given below are some examples of active voice sentences.

We went on a trip.

She smiled at me.

The King signed an agreement with the trading company.

I borrowed some money from my friend.

She is happy.

It is important to note that linking verbs and intransitive verbs are mainly found in the active voice. This is because active voice sentences do not require direct objects, unlike passive voice sentences.

Difference Between Active and Passive Voice

She is cleaning the house.

What is Passive Voice

Passive voice is the opposite of active voice. Here, the action is not performed by the subject; rather the action is performed on the subject. The receiver of the action is at the beginning of the sentence, and the doer of the action follows the verb. For example,

The students were taught by the professor.

         ⇓                                                  ⇓

     Receiver                                        Doer

It is important to note that a sentence cannot be turned into passive voice unless it has a direct object. Since active verbs undergo a major change in passive voice, these sentences tend to be longer than active ones. In addition, passive sentences are used to emphasize the verb and the receiver of the action. They are less direct and express a neutral or objective tone. Sometimes, the thing or the person performing the action can be omitted from the sentence. Given below are some examples of passive voice sentences.

A sharp knife has been used to cut her wrist.

The house was cleaned by me.

The dishes are going to be washed by my brother.

Everyone was worried about her.

Main Difference - Active vs Passive Voice

The house is being cleaned.

Difference Between Active and Passive Voice

Use

Active Voice: The subject of the sentence is doing the action.

Passive Voice: The action is done on/upon the subject.

Doer of the action

Active Voice: The doer of the action is followed by the verb.

Passive Voice: The doer of the action is preceded by the verb.

Receiver of the action

Active Voice: The receiver of the action is preceded by the verb.

Passive Voice: The receiver of the action is followed by the verb.

Clarity

Active Voice: Meaning is more clear and direct.

Passive Voice: Meaning can be confusing and indirect.

Tone

Active Voice: The tone is authoritative and subjective.

Passive Voice: The tone is neutral or objective.

Direct Object

Active Voice: Sentences that don’t contain direct objects can be written in active voice.

Passive Voice: Sentences that don’t contain direct objects cannot be written in passive voice.Difference Between Active and Passive Voice -infographic

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