Active and Passive voice rules & exercises in detail (2022)

Active and Passive Voice. 

Active and passive voice is one of the important grammar in English. which plays a very essential role. The majority of the sentences are in active voice but not passive voice. what is active voice and what is passive voice, we study in this article in detail. indeed. We study why we change active into passive. what are the rules for changing an active sentence into a passive sentence?

What is Voice?

what is voice?

What is a voice in active and passive voice? Both of them contain the word voice. Voice means sound. But over here it does not mean the sound. It is a dynamic verb that demonstrates the subject. It shows what the subject of the sentence performs. Or what has happened to the subject?
He breaks the glass. “Here the Subject (HE) does something (breaks the glass)”
The glass is broken.   “Here something happened (is broken) to the Subject Glass”

There are two forms of Voice:

  • Active Voice
  • Passive Voice

1. Active Voice

This active voice is the normal one that we mostly use. In active voice, the subject performs an action that occurs at the beginning of the sentence.
He wins the game.    (In this sentence the subject”He” performs an action)

More sentences of active and passive voice.

  • They played football.
  • She wrote a letter.
  • I called him.
  • We brought flowers for him.
  • You drive the car. 

2. Passive Voice:

Definition: Passive voice: when the subject of the sentence is a reviewer. It does not act but receives it.


  • The book is read to him
    In this sentence ‘the book’ is the subject of the sentence which is receiving the action.

Why do we change active voice to passive voice?

There are three reasons that we change an active voice sentence into a passive voice sentence.
(1) When the doer is unknown,
(2) when the action is important(when receiver is more important than doer.)
(3) When we hide the doer of the action.

In passive voice, the Subject receives the action.
The game is won (by him).   (Here Subject of the sentence receives the action)

subject  +   auxiliary verb (be)+main verb (past participle)
                     The game is won.

Active and passive voice rules.

active and passive voice rules

Note: Only the sentences with transitive verbs (verbs having direct object/ verbs that are needy of the object) can be changed into passive voice.             

  •  I played football.
  •  He wrote a letter.
  •  They drove the car.

Some examples with the most possible tenses:

TenseActive VoicePassive Voice
Simple Present TenseShe washes the dishes.The dishes are washed.
Present ContinuousShe is cleaning the room.The room is being cleaned.
Present PerfectThey have watched the movie for two hours.The movie has been watched.
Simple Past TenseHe saw the man.The man was seen.
Past ContinuousI was painting the rooms.The rooms were being painted.
Past PerfectWe had done the job.The job had been done.
Future Simple TenseYou will type the article.The article will be typed.
Future PerfectThey will have called her.She will have been called.

Note: The tenses like; Present Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous tense, Future Perfect Continuous, and Future Continuous are not changeable into passive voice.

How to change an imperative sentence?

Imperative sentence:    A sentence that expresses a command request or advice is called an imperative sentence.
For example:

  • Open the door.
  • Turn off the television.
  • Learn your lesson.

When changing these sentences into passive voice, we use the auxiliary verb “be”. The word “Let” is added at the beginning of the sentence in passive voice. The helping verb “be” is added after the object in a sentence. The main verb (base form) of an imperative sentence is changed to 3rd form of the verb (past participle) in the passive voice.

Active and passive exercises

Active VoicePassive Voice
Open the door.Let the door be opened.
Complete the work.Let the work be completed.
Turn off the television.Let the television be turned off.
Learn your lesson.Let your lesson be learned.
Kill the snake.Let the snake be killed.

Changing an interrogative sentence into a passive

Read the following sentences:

Active:                        Do the children play football?
Passive:                      Is football played by the children?
Active:                       Did Alice invite you?
Passive:                      Were you invited by Alice?

Note: You may have checked out that, the helping verbs do, does, and did are not used in the passive.

Active:              Have you finished the work?
Passive:            Has the work been finished by you?

Notes: The auxiliaries/ helping verbs ‘has, have, and had’ are used in the passive, but they change their form according to the number and person of the passive subject.

Active:       Can anyone cure it?
Passive:     Can it be cured?
Active:       Will he accept our invitation?
Passive:     Will our invitation be accepted by him?

Note: The auxiliaries/ helping verbs can, may, will, and shall do not change their beginning position while the active voice is changed into the passive voice.

Active:        Whom did you laugh at?
Passive:       Who was laughed at by you?

Active:         Who killed the snake?
Passive:        By whom was the snake killed?

Note:           Who changes to by whom in the passive; (by) whom changes to who in the passive?

Active:          Why did he punish you?
Passive:        Why were you punished by him?

Notes: The ‘WH’ words like when, where, why, how, and what is not changed. We should use them in the same place.

More related grammar:

Direct and indirect Speech, Indirect Questions.