We have learnt that nouns and verbs, as vital parts of speech, are necessary to form sentences. If nouns name persons or things, verbs show action. Sentences have objects and subjects, and can be active or passive. But what is the difference? Let's find out!
An active sentence is formed when the subject does an action and the object receives it. A passive sentence differs in that the subject receives the action rather than performs it. Active and passive verb forms help in giving emphasis to the subject or object. Let's examine the following sentence:
'The maid washes the dishes.’ Here ‘the maid’ is the subject performing the action, ‘washes’ is the verb and ‘the dishes’ is the object receiving the action. Here, the subject is performing the action and hence the sentence is an active sentence. Now let's look at this sentence:
'The dishes are washed by the maid.’ Here ‘the dishes’ become the subject on whom action is performed and so the same information has been given but in a passive sentence.
Just as we saw in the previous quizzes, some changes are to be done to sentences while converting from active to passive and vice versa. In the example with the dishes and maid we notice that the word BY has been introduced in the passive sentence. A passive sentence is usually formed by an action being performed on the subject and adding the word BY to signify who is performing the action. You can often recognise a passive sentence by the appearance of BY.
When verbs are involved can tenses be far away? Sentences undergo changes when we look at active and passive forms. Since there are several forms such as Simple Past, Simple Present and Simple Future (will/going to) forms we need to understand what changes need to be made to convert sentences from active to passive and vice versa. One simple rule to follow is that the form should remain the same in both voices and the appropriate changes to the verb have to be made.
This quiz shows active and passive verb forms in action. Have a go and see how well you know active and passive verbs.