When the subject of a sentence has something done by someone, we call it a passive sentence. In passive sentences, you will find the emphasis on the receiver or object of action rather than the duer. This kind of sentence is always formed by using the helping or auxiliary verb “to be” followed by the past participle.
Importance of passive sentences
a passive sentence is used to highlight the receiver or object of action; they are particularly useful where dual is not well relevant and not so important to the message that is being conveyed. A passive sentence allows you to highlight the object, and you will find focus on the object in a passive sentence. These kinds of sentences provide information about the sentence.
Understanding active-passive voice distinction
Active voice and passive voice In different ways structure the sentence in active voice, can find them for size over the subject and action, where the subject of a sentence performs a reaction.
- He played in the park
Here you can find” He” as the subject and play as action by the doer, “He”.
On the other hand, passive voice is used when the subject, rather than performing, undergoes action.
- Cricket was played by him.
Here you can find cricket as a focal point rather than a doer.
Active voice clears the sentence directly. Passive sentences, on the other hand, are used when the emphasis is on the receiver rather than the doer.
Passive sentence structure
There is a specific structure for passive sentences that is different from active sentences. The basic structure of passive sentences includes additional and helping verbs. Passive sentences are always used in the first participle form of the main verb.
Formation of Passive sentences
- Subject: The subject of a passive sentence is the receiver, which is being acted upon.
- Auxiliary verb: The helping verb is “to be,” which highlights the passive voice.
- Past participle: The main verb in the passive sentence is in past participle form; it shows action is being done by the subject.
- Prepositional phrase: it can be added to provide descriptive information about the doer’s action, which starts with the preposition “by.”
The structure of a sentence is as follows:
Subject + auxiliary verb (to be) + past participle (main verb) + optional prepositional phrase
- Active sentence: He played cricket.
- Passive sentence: Cricket is played by him.
- Active sentence: They constructed the Taj Mahal.
- Passive sentence: The Taj Mahal was constructed by him.
Key components of a passive sentence
Key components are the subject, verb, and object in passive voice.
Subject: in a passive sentence, the subject is the receiver or object of the action.
Verb: The verb in the passive sentence is an auxiliary and helping,” which is always followed in past participle form.
Object: the object in a passive sentence is crucial, where what is necessary is the object’s action rather than the subject.
Active and passive sentence comparison
An active sentence is directly conveyed, where you can find an emphasis on the doer’s action. In an active sentence, the subject is the doer or performer of action, and it comes before the verb. It is a direct sentence that is conveyed in present participle form.
Example of an active sentence
- She played football.
- They built that monument.
- The man chased that car.
Passive sentences, on the other hand, always emphasize the receiver and object of action. It is always conveyed in an indirect form. In a passive sentence, the subject undergoes the action of the verb. Passive sentences are always used in past participle form with helping and the auxiliary verb “to be.”.
- Football played by her
- Monument built by them.
- Car chased by a man.
Differentiating Active and passive voice
Active and passive sentences, In sentence structure and position of subject and object, there is a huge difference between both of them, where active voice is always conveyed in present participle form and passive voice is always conveyed in past participle form.
It is straightforward; the subject always comes before the verb, and the subject acts as the verb.
The subject undergoes the action of the verb. The object becomes the subject; it emphasizes the receiver of action; the auxiliary verb “to be” is used to reflect a passive sentence; it is always conveyed in past participle format.
Examples of passive sentences
Simple present passive sentence.
- Cricket is played by students.
- Canberra is the coldest place in Australia.
- The cookies are baked by my sister.
Simple past passive sentence.
- The work is done by me.
- The monument was built by workers.
- The cake was baked by Michael.
Present perfect passive sentence.
- Work has been done by me.
- Interviews have been taken by the big industrialists.
- She has been awarded a trophy.
Future passive sentence.
- The work will be done by me tomorrow.
- The monument will be built by next week.
- She will be awarded a certificate tomorrow.
Mixed-tense passive sentence.
- The children were running to reach home when it started raining. (past continuous)
- The outing plan has been made by her and is ready for implementation. (present perfect)
- She will be coming next week to visit her home.
You can observe the usage of “to be” in each sentence in past participle form.
Active to passive transformation
The transformation of an active sentence into a passive sentence involves various kinds of steps where you are required to rearrange the sentence structure from present participle to past participle and also change the emphasis from more due to the receiver.
The steps are as follows:
You are required to identify the subject-verb and objective sentence. You should determine the receiver of the inactive sentence and move the receiver to the beginning of the sentence so that it can become the subject of the passive sentence. You are required to add the helping verb “to be” before the past participle form of the main verb. You can also include an optional prepositional starting with by to highlight the duration of the action.
- She wrote an answer.
- An Answer was written by her.
Common mistakes and Challenges with Passive Sentences
Common mistakes are made by people who do not use the past participle form while structuring sentences. Using an auxiliary verb to be in a passive sentence avoiding the prepositional “by” which reflects the doer of an action and by giving Emphasis on the subject.
How to identify errors in passive sentences
- Make sure the passive sentence is the recipient of an action.
- Observe the doer of an action.
- Read the sentence, check the past participle form, and make sure the use of the auxiliary verb “to be” and the prepositional phrase “by” are correct.
Avoid ambiguity and awkwardness in the passive voice.
- A passive sentence may become complex and not clear, so in that case, you are required to include the doer of the action or rephrase the sentence in the active voice for clarity.
- Passive voice can be more clear by emphasizing objective receiver action, using past participle form, and having the auxiliary verb “to be”.
Advanced concepts and usage of passive sentences
There are various kinds of advanced concepts, like passage sentences in formal writing while using passive voice. In informal writing, we put the focus on action or object rather than dual, which can create an objective tone, and we can use passive voice while discussing the truth, and describing the process of presenting information without having any specific doer.
- Scientific and technical writing
It can help to convey information concisely and to maintain an objective stance.
- Object emphasis
Passive voice can be used to emphasize the object of action; this can be fruitful when the object is important.
- Passive sentence is equally essential and core of grammar which provides basic structure to any sentence.
- In passive sentences, you will find the emphasis on the receiver or object of action rather than the duer.
- Passive sentence followed by the helping verb “ to be” and prepositional phrase along with past participle.
- There is a difference between active and passive sentences, where active sentences directly provide information, on other hand in passive sentences there is no direct subject involved.
- Common errors in active passive sentences are avoiding helping verbs, not using correct past participle form and also avoiding preposition phrases which can result in errors of sentences.
- All these errors can be resolved by having proper understanding about Active and passive sentences, you can have a better grasp and understanding on passive sentences by understanding this article.
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Frequently Asked Questions
A Passive sentence can be made active by using the present participle and by emphasising the doer and action maker.
You can structure any sentence in passive form by using the past participle form, the auxiliary verb “to be,” the prepositional phrase “by,” and emphasising the receiver rather than the doer.
Subject + auxiliary verb + past participle + prepositional phrase (by + doer of action)
- The letter was written by Smith.
- Cookies were baked by my sister
- Shifting the focus to an object
- Create an impersonal tone.
- Used in the formal sense when there is no specific subject.
- Having no clarity about who is acting
- May not be appropriate for all kinds of writing contexts.
When you are required to highlight an object or receive action in formal writing, it is required to use passive voice.
These kinds of sentences are not vehicles, even in a meeting where the subject is not specific. You can use a passive sentence.