Active and Passive voices are basically two ways of saying the same thing. They are different because they put emphasis on different parts of the text. However, that is not enough to teach you what the differences are. That’s why in this article, we will look at both Active and Passive voices. We will see what the differences are by showing examples. And we will also check how to convert sentences from one voice to another.
So, without further ado, let’s check them out.
1.What is Active Voice?
Active voice is a grammatical construct in which it is apparent “who” or “what” is performing a specific action. It is one of the two verb voices used in English.
In active voice, there is a lot of clarity and the reader does not have any confusion with regard to who is doing the action on what.
A typical structure of a sentence in active voice is as follows:
I.e., in a sentence written in the active voice, the subject is doing something on an object.
Of course, other parts of grammar may be present, but the subject, verb, and object have to follow this order.
Here is an example of a sentence in active voice:
“The dogran after the ball.”
- Red = Subject
- Green = Verb
- Blue = Object
So, you can see that the correct order of subject->verb->object is followed correctly. You can clearly see that a dog is performing an action on a ball.Btw, keep in mind that the color coding will be used again in this article later on. So, remember it.
Where is Active Voice Used?
Active voice is used when it is necessary to communicate who or what is doing an action. It is used in situations where it is important to know the subject itself.
Active voiceis inherently clear, and that is why it is preferred by many writers. It prevents confusion and readers can understand what is happening. It also makes your writing more concise. Writing in the passive voice is usually wordier.
So, in summary, active voice is best used for informational writing where the author intends to teach their readers something specific.
2.What is Passive Voice?
The passive voice is the other “verb voice” used in English. It is used to put emphasis on the object on which the action is being done. In the passive voice, it is not necessary to include the subject i.e., the person/thing doing the action.
The sentence structure in passive voice is shown below:
In other words, the thing that is being acted on is mentioned first in the sentence, followed by the action itself. If you remember, in active voice, the order is the opposite. Here’s how in the passive voice looks:
“The ballwas run after by the dog.”
This is the same sentence that we used before, except it is in the passive voice now.
Where is Passive Voice Used?
So, where is the passive voice typically used? It is used:
- If the reader is already aware of the subject
- As a way to diversify writing (i.e.,when paraphrasing)
- When the focus is an action and its consequences
- Used for expository writing
Mystery writers like to use passive voice to give incomplete information to the reader in order to keep some secret. Passive voice is also useful for saying things without mentioning a specific entity. It allows people to communicate without holding other people responsible.
How Can You Convert Active to Passive Voice and Vice Versa?
Converting sentences from one voice to another is a great technique for paraphrasing. It is widely used by writers for altering sentence patterns and making the text look different from its original versions.
There are two main ways of converting voices:
- Manual method
- Using a tool
The manual method entails that you understand the grammar rules and rephrase sentences by changing the voices yourself. Or you can simply rely on online tools. In this article, we will explore both options.
1.Manual Method of Converting Voices
In the manual method, there is a prerequisite that you must know a lot about grammar and sentence structure.
In the simplest words, all you have to do is to reverse the order of subject and object, while keeping the verb in between them all the time. But obviously, changes in the sentence structure demand that other changes be made to accommodate them.
The most common way of converting active to passive voice is adding an auxiliary to the verb to make it fit the new structure.
We are going to go over some examples and show you how both conversions work.
Examples of Voice Conversion
Here are a few sentences that will be converted from active to passive and vice versa.
“The brakespressed hard on the wheels.”
“The wheels were pressed hard by the brakes.”
In this example, the verb pressed has been augmented with an auxiliary “were” to make it fit the change in structure. The rest is as you can see, the subject and object have switched places.
Let’s check our next example.
“The cat was lifted by Jake.”
“Jake lifted the cat.”
In this example, we removed the auxiliary “was” from the verb “lifted” and the subject and object switched places again.
From these examples, we can see that it is necessary for voiced sentences to have an object on which the action is being done. If the object is missing then the sentence’s voice cannot be changed.
Here is an example of a sentence like that:
“The carskidded to a halt.”
There is no object. The car is doing something, but it is not acting on anything else. As such, this sentence cannot be said to have a voice.
2.Automatic Method of Changing Passive to Active Voice
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of manual conversion, we can use something else like a paraphrasing tool. Some best AI-based paraphrasers such as Paraphraser and Wordtune can convert passive to active voice. In the following images, you can see the two tools we have mentioned converting sentences in the passive voice to the active.
And with that, we can conclude this article on understanding the differences between active and passive voice. We looked at what the active and passive voices look like, and what are their defining characteristics.
We also looked at how you can convert the voices from one voice to another with and without using tools. Hopefully, now you understand the differences between active and passive voices and know how to use them in your own writing effectively.