Basic Rules of Changing Active Voice into Passive Voice


    What is Voice?

    The voice of a verb tells whether the subject of the sentence performs or receives the action.

    Types of Voice:

    Active Voice: the subject performs the action expressed by the verb.

    Usage: when more clarity and straightforward relation is required between verb and subject.

    Passive Voice: the subject receives the action expressed by the verb.

    Usage: when the action is the focus, not the subject or when the doer is unknown.


    Active Voice: Someone will serve refreshments.
    Passive Voice: Refreshments will be served by someone.


    Rules of Conversion from Active to Passive Voice:

    1. Identify the subject, the verb and the object: S+V+O
    2. Change the object into subject
    3. Put the suitable helping verb or auxiliary verb
    4. Change the verb into past participle of the verb
    5. Add the preposition “by“
    6. Change the subject into object


    Active Voice:
                            Faris                  Wrote             a book.

    (Subject)            (Verb)                      (Object)


    Passive Voice:

            A book          was               written           by    Faris

    (Object)          (Auxiliary Verb)         (Past participle)                    (Object)



    Note:The rules for using Auxiliary verb for Passive Voice

    is different for each tense.


    Active Tenses and their Passive Equivalents



    Tense/Verb Form


    Active Voice


    Passive Voice

    Simple Present


    is kept

    Present Continuous

    is keeping

    is being kept

    Simple Past


    was kept

    Past Continuous

    was keeping

    was being kept

    Present Perfect

    has kept

    has been kept

    Past Perfect

    had kept

    had been kept


    will keep

    will be kept


    would keep

    would be kept

    Perfect Conditional

    would have kept

    would have been kept

    Present Infinitive

    to keep

    to be kept

    Perfect Infinitive

    to have kept

    to have been kept

    Present Participle\



    being kept

    Perfect Participle

    having kept

    having been kept


    Note:Passive voice cannot be formed for active voice sentences in the Present Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous, Future Continuous or Future Perfect Continuous.


    Specific Conditions for Changing Active Voice into Passive Voice for Particular Sentences


    • Condition 1:If the given sentence in the active voice is in the imperative form, to get the passive voice use ‘Let’.


    Structure of Passive Voice:

    Let + Object + be + Past Participle




    1. Active: Help me.

    Passive: Let me be helped.


    1. Active: Open the window.

    Passive: Let the window be opened.



    ·       Condition 2: If the question in the Active Voice begins with a Helping verb (am, is, are, was, were, will, have, should, could, will) the Passive voice must also begin with a suitable helping verb.




    1. Active: Are you writing a book?

    Passive: Is a book being written by you?


    1. Active: Will you write an essay?

    Passive: Will an essay be written by you?



    • Condition 3:If the question begins with ‘Wh’ or How’ form (what, when, how, etc.) the Passive Voice must begin with the same. Only ‘who’ gets replaced by ‘By whom’.




    1. Active: Why did you throw the cell phone?

    Passive: Why was the cell phone thrown by you?


    1. Active: Who broke the computer’s screen?

    Passive: By whom was the computer’s screen



    • Condition 4:If the given sentence in the active voice is in the infinitive form, passive is formed as ‘to be + past participle’.



    1. Active:I want to shoot the lion.

    Passive: I want the lion to be shot.


    • Condition 5:If the given sentence in the active voice is in gerund form, passive is formed as ‘being + past participle’.




    1. Active:I remember my father taking me to the college.

    Passive: I remember being taken to the college by my father.


    • Condition 6:If a sentence contains two objects namely Indirect Object and Direct Object in the Active Voice, two forms of Passive Voice can be formed.




    1. Active:She brought me a cup of tea.

    Passive: (I) was brought a cup of tea by her.

    Passive: (II) A cup of tea was brought me by her.

















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