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Active Voice, Passive VoiceThere are two special forms for verbs called voice:
- Active voice
- Passive voice
|Fish||are eaten||by cats.|
|passive||Water||is drunk||by everybody.|
Passive Verb FormationThe passive forms of a verb are created by combining a form of the "to be verb" with the past participle of the main verb. Other helping verbs are also sometimes present: "The measure could have been killed in committee." The passive can be used, also, in various tenses. Let's take a look at the passive forms of "design."
|Tense||Subject||Auxiliary|| Past |
|Present perfect||The car/cars||has been||have been||designed.|
|Past perfect||The car/cars||had been||had been||designed.|
|Future||The car/cars||will be||will be||designed.|
|Future perfect||The car/cars||will have been||will have been||designed.|
|Present progressive||The car/cars||is being||are being||designed.|
|Past progressive||The car/cars||was being||were being||designed.|
UsagePassive verbs are used when the writer or speaker wishes to focus our attention on the person or thing to which the action is done rather than on the agent - i.e. the person or thing which does the action. Passive verbs also allow the writer to refer to an action without naming the agent. If you want your writing to be concise, direct and informal, you should not use passive verbs too often. The passive voice is more common in formal language and in writing and less common in informal language and in speech.
Handout on active and passive verbs - Online Writing Lab
Some fairly straightforward exercises
A slightly more challenging exercise
A very challenging exercise
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, Apr 21 2008, 10:23 PM EDT
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