Voice Change : English Grammar Rules

Voice Change:

The two forms of the verb of a sentence to denote the same meaning are called a voice.


  • I write a letter
  • A letter is written by me.

In the above sentences express the same meaning. But their form is different.

Kinds Of Voice :

Voice is of two kinds

  1. Active voice
  2. Passive Voice


Active Passive

     I        Me

    He      Him

   She       Her

   You    You

   They     Them

   We   Us

I) In the first sentence above, the subject itself is directly doing or performing an act. In this case, the subject itself is the doer or agent.

When the subject of the verb himself does something, the verb is said to be in the Active Voice.


I see the moon.

Boys play football.

Ram reads a book.

He did the sum.

The hunter killed the tiger.

II) Now, mark the second sentence above. Here the subject of the sentence is ‘A letter’ but the work of writing is done by another. That is to say, in this sentence the subject and the doer are different. Here, the work of the verb is not done by the subject.

When the subject of the verb does not act itself but is acted upon, the verb is to be in the passive voice.


The moon is seen by me.

Football is played by boys.

A book is read by Ram.

The sum was done by him.

The tiger was killed by the hunter.

In the case of the above sentences, the subject itself is not doing anything, someone else is doing the work.

When to use the passive voice?

Note that the passive voice is used in place of the active voice when the speaker is mainly interested in the practice. When the active voice subject is unknown or vague or insignificant, the passive voice is the normal and accepted form.

In sentences like, ”He was killed in war ” or, The school was established in 1936 “. We don’t really know who killed him or who established the school. In this kind of sentences, the original subject of the active voice has no bearing.

The actual purpose of the passive voice is to bring the much more interesting predicate of the sentences to the front because this is the most important part of the sentence in English.

Remember that only the transitive verbs are used in the passive voice. The intransitive verb doesn’t have a passive voice.

Rules for the Chance Of verb:

Following are the rules for changing active voice change into passive voice :

I) The object of active voice becomes the subject in the passive voice

II) Be verb as per tense.

III) The finite verb in the active voice change is changed into the past participle form.

IV) Used preposition like by, with, at, or to.

V) The subject of active voice change becomes the object in the passive voice.


    1. Active: Ram eats rice.

     Passive: Rice is eaten by Ram.

    2. Active: Ram ate Rice.

     Passive: Rice was eaten by Ram.

     3. Active: Ram will eat rice.

       Passive: Rice will be eaten by Ram.

VI) In the continuous tense (usually past or present continuous, future continuous is very rarely used), the word, ‘being’ (be+ing) is using in between the appropriate form of the verb “to be” and the past participle form of the finite verb.


Active: I am reading a book.

Passive: A book is read by me.

Active: He was writing a letter.

Passive: A letter was being written by me.

Active: They were repairing the card.

Passive: The car was being repaired by them.

VII) In the perfect Tense (present or past) the word ‘been ‘ is used before the past participle of the finite verb.


Active: I have read the book.

Passive: The book has been reading by me.

Active: He had done it.

Passive: It had been done by him.

VIII) The passive voice change of transitive Verbs with two objects in the active voice change is performed by changing either of the two objects into the subject, and retaining the other as an object. The object, thus retained, is known as a retained object.


Active: Mr Barua teaches us English.

Passive: 1. We are taught English by Mr Barua.

2. English is taught us by Mr Barua.

Active: The cow gives us milk.

Passive: We are given milk by the cow.

Milk is given to us by the cow.

Active: The teacher asked me a few questions.

Passive: I was asked a few questions by the teacher.

A few questions were asked me by the teacher.

IX) In changing the voice change of a complex sentence, the voice of both the principal and the subordinate clause should be changed.


Passive: It is said that a tree is known by its fruits.

Active: People say that we know a tree by its fruit

Passive: we cannot be cured must be endured.

Active: We must endure what we cannot cure.

X) An imperative sentence is changed into the passive voice with the help of ‘Let’, have, get etc. ‘Let’ is placed at the beginning of a sentence and the verb “Be” itself used before the past participle form of the verb. (voice change)


Active: Do it.

Passive: Let it be done.

Active: Do this at once.

Passive: Let this be done at once.

Active: Shut the door.

Passive: Let the door be shut.

Active: Do your duty at once.

Passive: Let your duty be done at once.

Active: Call in a doctor.

Passive: Let the doctor be called in.

Active: Take care of your health.

Passive: Let your health be taken care of.

Sometimes the Imperative sentence in active voice starts with “Let”.In this case, also, The passive voice starts with Let. (voice change)


Active: Let him finish the work.

Passive: Let the work be finished by him.

Active: Let him submit the petition.

Passive: Let the petition be submitted by him.

XI) To turn an interrogative sentence into the passive voice, it is customary to turn it first into a sentence or Assertive Sentence, Change the voice and then again turn it into an interrogative sentence :


Active: Do you see the moon? (Interrogative)

You see the moon. (Assertive)

The moon is seen by you. (passive)

Passive: Is the moon seen by you?

Active: Does he write a letter?

Passive : Is a letter written by him?

Active: Did Shirpa do this?

Passive: Was this done by Shirpa ?

Remember that if the question is a specific question or a w/h type question, the question word will be put at the beginning of the passive construction. The nominative “Who” is usually turned into “By whom” and placed at the beginning of the sentence.


Active: Who shut the window?

Passive: By whom was the window shut?

Active: Who broke the glass?

Passive: By whom was the glass broken?

Active: How Did you do the sum?

Passive: How was the sum done by you?

Active: Why did he beat the boy?

Passive: Why Was The boy beaten by him?

XII) Objects that cannot be used as a subject in the passive voice.

Reflexive Object :


Active: He hurt himself.

Passive: He was hurt by himself.

Active: He killed himself.

Passive: He was killed by himself.

XIII) Quasi -Passive Verbs :

The honey tasted sweet. (=is sweet when it tasted)

The rose smells nice. (=is nice when it is smell)

In the above sentences, the verb looks like active voice but really denotes passive voice. Their form is active but the meaning is the passive voice. Hence they are called quasi passive verbs.

XIV) Omission of the agent in the passive voice :

An important use of the passive voice is in sentences where we do not know the subject or where the subjects are unimportant.

Someone threw the ball.

They are building a road.

In the passive, these subjects disappear and sentences become :

The ball was thrown.

A road is being built.


  1. People speak Hindi all over INDIA.
  2. Someone has picked my pocket.
  3. Somebody informed the police.
  4. People play Football everywhere.

The agent, the person doing the action, is unimportant or vague in sentences having subjects like someone. They, people, somebody etc. In the passive form, the agent has been, therefore, left out as they sound unnatural.

Adding such expressions as ‘by someone’, do not add anything to the meaning of the sentence.

Hindi is spoken all over INDIA.

My pocket has been picked.

The door was painted green.

XV) The impersonal ‘It’s is used in the passive voice with a verb like ‘expect’, ‘know’, ‘hope’, ‘fear ‘, ‘think’, ‘find’,’ say’ etc.

It is hoped that he will pass.

It is said that necessity knows no law.

It is expected that he will secure a good position.

Some More Examples

Active: One should promise once promise.

Passive: A promise should be kept.

Active: One should do once’s duty.

Passive: Dur should be done.

Active: I was compelled to go.

Passive : Circumstances compelled me to go.

Active: We call the lion the king of beasts.

Passive: The lion is called the king of beasts.

Active: He let people cheat him.

Passive: He let people cheat him.

Active: what is done cannot be undone.

Passive: You cannot undo what you can do.

Active: Rome was not built in a day.

Passive: The Roman’s didn’t build Rome in a day.

Active: We voted him to the chair.

Passive: He was voted through the chair.

Active: People say that he is an honest man.

Passive: It is said that he is an honest man.

Active: He pleased Everyone.

Passive: Everyone was pleased with him.

Active: Careless causes accidents.

Passive: Accidents are caused by carelessness.

Active: I say him carrying a box.

Passive: I saw a box being carried a box.

Active: What cannot be cured must be endured.

Passive: You should endure what you cannot cure.

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