How to Change Active Voice to Passive Voice

How to Change Active Voice to Passive Voice

Before learning how to change active voice to passive voice, let us first look at the meaning of the two terms active voice and passive voice. A voice is a grammatical form that indicates whether the action of a sentence is done or performed by the subject or not. There are two voices in English grammar. They are the active voice and passive voice. Active voice sentences are the sentences where the action is performed by the subject. Passive voice sentences are the sentences where the action is performed on/upon the subject.

Before learning how to change active voice to passive voice, it is also important to know that some verbs cannot be turned into passive voice. These verbs include,

Intransitive verbs – verbs that don’t take an object

Certain state verbs such as belong, have (own), resemble, suit, lack, etc.

Let us now see how to change active voice to passive voice.

Step 1:

First identify the object of a sentence.

 The cat chased the rat.

Step 2:

Make the object of the verb the subject of the passive voice sentence.

The rat…..

Step 3:

Identify the verb and decide which tense the verb is in. Put the passive voice equivalent of this verb (see chart below). In this example, the verb is in simple past tense. Therefore, passive voice construction should be ‘was’ + past participle.

The rat was chased …..

Step 4:

Place the subject of the active voice sentence at the end of the passive voice sentences. It should be preceded by the preposition ‘by’. This is called the agent.

The rat was chased by the cat.

If the agent seems to be unimportant, you can remove it from the sentence.

How to Change Active Voice to Passive Voice

Active: My mother baked cookies.
Passive: Cookies were baked by my mother.

Verb Forms in Active and Passive




Simple Present

Jane sings a song.

A song is sung by Jane.

Present Continuous

Jane is singing a song.

A song is being sung by Jane.

Present Perfect

Jane has sung a song.

A song has been sung by Jane.

Simple Past

Jane sang a song.

A song was sung by Jane.

Past continuous

Jane was singing a song.

A song was being sung by Jane.

Past Perfect

Jane had sung a song.

A song had been sung by Jane.

Simple Future

Jane will sing a song.

A song will be sung by Jane.

Future Perfect

Jane will have sung a song.

A song will have been sung by Jane.

Keep in mind that the following tenses are not generally transformed into the passive voice as it makes the individual difficult to grasp the meaning and makes the sentence complex.

 Present perfect continuous tense

 Past perfect continuous tense

 Future continuous tense

 Future perfect continuous tense

Now that you know how to change active voice to passive voice let us see some examples where active voice sentences have been turned into the passive voice.

The thief stole a diamond necklace. → A diamond necklace was stolen by the thief.

My mother will give me a new dress.→ A new dress will be given to me by my mother.

The little girl has eaten all the biscuits.→ All the biscuits have been eaten by the little girl.

He fixed the error.→ The error was fixed. (by him.)

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