Bank Exam » Bank Exam Study Materials » English » Active and Passive Voice

Active and Passive Voice

Active and passive voice are two forms of transitive verbs depending on whether the action of the sentence is performed by the subject or object.

Transitive verbs have two forms that depends on the action of the sentence and its relation to the subject of the sentence. They are active voice and passive voice. If the subject is active in the sentence and the action is performed by it then we shall say that the sentence is in active voice. On the other hand, if the sentence is formed in a way where the subject is a passive receiver instead of an active agent, we shall say that the sentence is in passive voice. Let us now look into what a transitive verb is to understand this in a better and clearer way.

Transitive Verb

Based on the presence or absence of objects in a sentence, verbs can be divided into two types.
  1. Transitive Verb.
  2. Intransitive Verb.
Those verbs that take an object or objects in a sentence to perform an action is called a transitive verb. Consider this sentence, Mr. Shom gave me a box of chocolate. In the above sentence we see that the subject Mr. Shom is performing the action of “giving”. Hence, “gave” is the verb in the sentence. Now let us question the subject with what or/and whom to identify the object in the sentence. So, what is Mr. Shom giving? The question will have an answer here. A box of chocolate. So, we can say that in this sentence “a box of chocolate” is an object. Now if we question the subject with whom we get at the second object of the sentence. Whom is Mr. Shom giving the box of chocolate? The answer will be in this case, “me”. Hence, the word “me” here is another object of the sentence. Understanding this is important for a clear idea of active and passive voice because subject and object are precisely the things we are going to deal with.

Active and Passive Voice

As we have seen already the position and action of the subject and object of a sentence determine active and passive voice of the sentence. To recapitulate once more, when the subject is an active agent in the sentence and performs the action, it is called active voice. When the object becomes active and the subject becomes a passive receiver in the subject, then we call it a passive voice. Let us now look at active and passive voice examples to understand these concepts more clearly. Take this sentence, Trees give us oxygen. In this sentence the subject is ‘Trees’, the verb is ‘give’, and the object here is ‘oxygen’. The subject is actively performing the action in this sentence. So, we can say that the sentence is in active voice. Now if we make the object active here and the subject a passive receiver, then we shall the call it passive voice. In order to do so, you need to bring the object in the position of the subject. Then according to the tense of the sentence we shall add a be verb after the object and then the past participle form of the main verb given in the sentence. And finally, we shall place the subject in the object’s position following a “by” or “to” depending on the sentence. Hence, Oxygen is given by trees. Here, oxygen is acting as the active agent and trees as the passive receiver. The sentence was in present tense. Therefore, “Oxygen” is followed by the be verb “is” and it is followed by “by trees”.

Active and passive voice examples with answers:

Here are some more active and passive voice examples with answers for a clear understanding:
  1. Shruti buys flowers. A. Flowers are bought by Shruti.
  2. He hit the man. A.  The man was hit by him.
  3. I was eating rice. A.  Rice was being eaten by me.
  4. Who stole your car? A.   By whom was your car being stolen?


Active and passive voice are two important concepts that are absolutely essential to English grammar. Mastering them is necessary to know and use the language in an efficient manner. More and more practice will help you have a good grip on them.