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Active and passive verbs

Active verbs describes a sentence where the subject performs the action
stated by the verb. In passive verb sentences, the subject is acted upon
by the verb. To know whether you are writing in the active or passive
voice, identify the subject of the sentence and decide whether the subject
is doing the action or being acted upon. Passive Voice: the subject is the
receiver of the action, the subject is acted upon; he or she receives the
action expressed by the verb. The agent performing the action may
appear in a "by the..." phrase or may be omitted. Image Caption: The dog
is acting upon the sentence subject (the boy), meaning it uses the
passive voice.
Depending on the way in which you word a sentence, a verb can be either
active or passive.
When the verb is active, the subject of the verb is doing the action :
Evelyn
[subject]

teach us how to speak dutch.


[active verb]

When the verb is passive, the subject undergoes the action rather than
doing it:
Evelyn
[subject]

Taught us how to speak dutch.


[passive verb]

What is the difference between an active and a passive voice? Active vs.
passive is dictated by the verbs used. For example, "Picasso painted a
picture" uses an active verb. "The picture was painted by Picasso" uses a
passive verb.
You should generally avoid writing in the passive voice as it is a more
roundabout way of writing and you should try to be direct. we should try
to use the active voice in most of our business writing to communicate our
message most effectively. Active voice clearly identifies the action and
who is performing that action. Unfortunately, much of government writing
is in the passive voice, giving documents a wordy, bureaucratic tone. Over
time, writing in the passive voice simply becomes a habit, one we should
all work to change.

Why should we use active voice?


Active voice makes documents stronger by showing responsibility or
giving credit for an action. When we avoid showing responsibility, we often
don't give enough information to explain the problem and how to fix it.
Often, we use a form of the passive called the "cut passive" and never
identify the doer of the action. This form sounds vague and abstract.

Reasons to Generally Avoid Passive Voice


Sometimes the use of passive voice can create awkward sentences, as in
the last example above. Also, overuse of passive voice throughout an
essay can cause your prose to seem flat and uninteresting. In scientific
writing, however, passive voice is more readily accepted since using it
allows one to write without using personal pronouns or the names of
particular researchers as the subjects of sentences (see the third example
above). This practice helps to create the appearance of an objective, factbased discourse because writers can present research and conclusions
without attributing them to particular agents. Instead, the writing appears
to convey information that is not limited or biased by individual
perspectives or personal interests.
Recognizing Passive Voice
You can recognize passive-voice expressions because the verb phrase will
always include a form of be, such as am, is, was, were, are, or been.
The presence of a be-verb, however, does not necessarily mean that the
sentence is in passive voice. Another way to recognize passive-voice
sentences is that they may include a "by the..." phrase after the verb; the
agent performing the action, if named, is the object of the preposition in
this phrase.
Helpful Hint
You can recognize passive voice because the verb phrase will include a
form of be (was, am, are, been, is). Don't assume that just because there
is a form of 'be' that the sentence is passive, however. Sometimes a
prepositional phrase like "by the" in the sentences above indicates that
the action is performed on the subject, and that the sentence is passive.

Active / Passive Overview


Tense
Simple
Present
Present
Continuous
Simple Past
Past
Continuous
Present
Perfect
Present
Perfect
Continuous
Past Perfect

Past Perfect
Continuous

Simple
Future
will
Simple
Future
be going to
Future
Continuous
will
Future
Continuous
be going to
Future
Perfect
will
Future

Active
Once a week, Tom cleans the
house.
Right now, Sarah is writing
the letter.
Sam repaired the car.
The salesman was helping
the customer when the thief
came into the store.
Many tourists have visited
that castle.
Recently, John has been
doing the work.

Passive
Once a week, the house is
cleaned by Tom.
Right now, the letter is being
written by Sarah.
The car was repaired by Sam.
The customer was being
helped by the salesman when
the thief came into the store.
That castle has been visited
by many tourists.
Recently, the work has been
being done by John.

George had repaired many


cars before he received his
mechanic's license.

Many cars had been repaired


by George before he received
his mechanic's license.

Chef Jones had been


preparing the restaurant's
fantastic dinners for two
years before he moved to
Paris.
Someone will finish the work
by 5:00 PM.

The restaurant's fantastic


dinners had been being
prepared by Chef Jones for two
years before he moved to Paris.

Sally is going to make a


beautiful dinner tonight.

A beautiful dinner is going to


be made by Sally tonight.

At 8:00 PM tonight, John will


be washing the dishes.

At 8:00 PM tonight, the dishes


will be being washed by John.

At 8:00 PM tonight, John is


going to be washing the
dishes.
They will have completed
the project before the
deadline.
They are going to have

At 8:00 PM tonight, the dishes


are going to be being
washed by John.
The project will have been
completed before the
deadline.
The project is going to have

The work will be finished by


5:00 PM.

Perfect
be going to
Future
Perfect
Continuous
will
Future
Perfect
Continuous
be going to

completed the project before


the deadline.
The famous artist will have
been painting the mural for
over six months by the time it
is finished.
The famous artist is going to
have been painting the
mural for over six months by
the time it is finished.

Used to

Jerry used to pay the bills.

Would
Always
Future in the
Past
Would

My mother would always


make the pies.
I knew John would finish the
work by 5:00 PM.

been completed before the


deadline.
The mural will have been
being painted by the famous
artist for over six months by the
time it is finished.
The mural is going to have
been being painted by the
famous artist for over six
months by the time it is
finished.
The bills used to be paid by
Jerry.
The pies would always be
made by my mother.
I knew the work would be
finished by 5:00 PM.

Future in the
Past
Was Going
to

I thought Sally was going to


make a beautiful dinner
tonight.

I thought a beautiful dinner was


going to be made by Sally
tonight.

Sources:
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com
examples.yourdictionary.com
www.englishpage.com

http://www.plainlanguage.gov
https://owl.english.purdue.edu