In this, the fourth of our seven High English quizzes on active voice and passive voice, we take a look at sentences written in passive voice and the simple past tense.
Tenses are important and the sentence in passive voice changes with the tense it is in. When we want to convert a sentence in any tense in active voice into a sentence in passive voice, the general rule is that the past participle (or the third form) of the main verb is used and the tense is indicated by the auxiliary verb.
The general rule for sentences in simple past passive is:
‘Object + was / were + past participle of main verb (third form)’ in an affirmative sentence.
‘Was / were + object + past participle of main verb (third form)’ in the case of a question.
Just as in so many other cases, adding ‘not’ gives a negative form to passive sentences.:
‘The manager reprimanded the subordinate,’ in active voice and past simple tense is transformed into:
‘The subordinate was reprimanded by the manager,’ in passive voice following the rule enumerated above.
‘Did the speaker cover all the points?’ in active voice is transformed into:
‘Were all the points covered by the speaker?’ in passive voice.
‘The Finance Minister didn’t present the Railway Budget’ in active voice is transformed into:
‘The Railway Budget wasn’t presented by the Finance Minister’ in passive voice.
In English, more sentences are in active voice as the subject performing the action is pertinent. In some cases, when emphasis has to be placed on the thing receiving the action, passive voice is more useful. Generally, scientific and academic writing, which need an objective view, use sentences in passive voice.
The quiz that follows takes you through sentences in simple past passive form.