General rules for active and passive voice

  • Active : what subject does.
  • Passive : The focus is on the action.
  • Examples:
  • Active : Tony killed Ravan .
  • Passive : Ravan was killed by Tony.
  • Conclusion:
  • Active = subject + object
  • Passive = object+be+v3+by subject

  • Examples :
  • Active: he is following us.
  • Passive: we are being followed by him
  • Active : I am buying a pen .
  • Passive : A pen is being bought by me.

  • The common rule :
  • Bring the object first.
  • choose correct ‘be’ verb.
  • change the verb into participle.
  • add by + subject .
  • How the subjct and the verb change :
    Subject : I , we , you , they, He , She .
    Object : Me , Us , You , Them , Him ,Her .

  • Note: If there are two objects use any one.
  • For example :
  • She told us a story.
  • 1- we were told a story by her
  • 2- a story was told to us by her .



  • Active rule : have/has/had/is/am/are/was/were +to +v1
  • Passive rule: have/has/had/is/am/are/was/were +to be+ v3

  • For example:
    We have to learn English .
    English has to be learnt.

  • Modal auxilliary verbs: can , could , shall, should , may ,might ,will , would ,must .
    Active rule :Modals + v1
    passive rule : Modals + be + v3
    Examples :
    She can speak French.
    French can be spoken by her .

  • Modals : must have , should have , could have , might have would have .
    Active : Modals + v3
    Passive : Modals + been + v3

  • Example :
    They should have stolen my bag.
    my bag should have been stolen by them.

  • Passive voice for tenses
  • Simple present : obj + is/am/are +v3
  • Example : The poem is written by her.
  • Continuous present : obj + is/am/are+ being + v3
  • Example : Rice is being cooked by her.
  • Perfect present : Obi + have / has + been + v3
  • Example : Homework has been done by him.
  • Simple future : obj + will/shall + be+ v3
  • Example : beautiful poem will be written by her.
  • Perfect future : obj + will/shall + have been + v3
  • Example : Homework will have been done by him.

  • Note : negative sentences remain negative.
  • Example :
  • active : they have not stolen my pen.
  • Passive : My pen has not been stolen.

  • Passive voice of “yes/no” questions :
  • Active rule : did or does + subj + v1 + obj
  • Passive rule : (was/were) or (is/am /are) + obj + v3
  • Examples :
  • Can you speak English?
  • Can English be spoken by you?
  • Did you help him?
  • Was he helped by you?

Published by rashaadwan

English language teacher who will help you to improve your English skills and to learn more about the language

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