What is Voice – Active Voice & Passive Voice ? Why is voice needed?

While communicating we use words in a sentence according to the importance ascribed to them. Or in other words  are placed in a sentence according to their importance in communication.

Usually a sentence has a subject, a verb and an object in it. A word is used as subject or object in a sentence according to the importance it carries with it.

Take the following examples to make it clear.

 1. I wrote a letter to him.

2. I wrote him a letter.

3. A letter was written to him by me.

In these sentences the three key words I, letter and him are placed at different places in the sentences  according to the importance of these words in communication. As such the two forms of voice i.e. Active and Passive voice are used accordingly  while communicating. More important words are used as Subject and those of secondary place are used as an object in a sentence. For this necessary changes are made in the sentence.


The  process of making a change from active to passive form of a sentence is called ‘change of the voice’.

 In examination there are questions in the form of change of sentences from one form of voice to another i.e. from active to passive form or vice versa  & there are questions to rectify errors due to wrong change of form of sentences.


A sentence generally has in it a  Subject , Verb and object. But some sentences do not have an object but for change of voice an object in a sentence is necessary.




Change of Voice –  

In case of Sentences of Continuous Tenses i.e. Present Continuous Tense, Past Continuous Tense and Future Continuous Tense :-

While changing a sentence from active to passive form, we bring object in place of subject and move subject to the place of object. A word ‘by’ is used before subject (at object place) of course with some exceptions. The remaining part of the sentence (other than Subject, verb and object) is placed after the third form of verb used in the sentence.

Perfect  Tenses – Present  Perfect Tense , Past  Perfect Tense & Future Perfect Tense

In case of Present Perfect Tense

the words ‘ Has or Have + Third form of verb are changed to

‘ Has or Have + been+Third form of verb.


For Example

He has invited his friends to the party.

His friends have been invited to the party by him.

She has not finished her work yet.

Her work has not been finished yet by her.

Has their team won the match?

Has the  match been won by their team ?

Why have you  insulted her ?

Why has she been insulted by you?

How have you spent your holidays abroad?

How were your holidays spent abroad by you?


In case of Past Perfect Tense

the words ‘ Had + Third form of verb are changed to

‘ Had + been+Third form of verb.


For Example

He had already finished his work.

His work has already been finished by him.

The old man had not sold his property.

His property had not been sold by the old man.

Had she painted this picture before my arrival ?

Had this picture been painted before my arrival by her?

Why had the principal punished the students?

Why had the students been punished by the principal?

Where had she parked her car yesterday?

Where had her car been parked yesterday by her?

How had the landlord helped the poor?

How had the poor been helped by the landlord?




In case of Future Perfect Tense

the words ‘Shall or will +  Have + Third form of verb are changed to

‘ Shall or will + Have + been+Third form of verb.


For Example

I shall have finished my work by then.

My work will have been finished by then by me.

The police will have arrested the thief.

The thief will have been arrested by the police.

All the villagers will have settled their dues.

Their dues will have  been  settled by all the villagers.

Why will you have borrowed money from him?

Why will money have been borrowed from him by you?


In case of sentences with words ‘Should have’, ‘Would have’  or ‘Could have’

the words ‘Should, Would or Could’   +  Have + Third form of verb are changed to

‘Should, Would or Could’   +  Have + been + Third form of verb.


For Example

I should have finished my work before their arrival.

My work should have been finished before their arrival by me.

Dark clouds would have covered the whole  sky.

The whole sky would have been covered by dark clouds.

She could have shown better results.

Better results could have been shown by her.

The students could have attained better marks in the examination.

Better marks could have been attained by the students in the examination.

The king should have  pardoned the culprit.

The culprit should have been pardoned by the king.

Why should the police not have arrested the cheater ?

Why should the cheater not have been arrested by the police ?

When should have the chairman called the meeting ?

When should have the meeting been called by the chairman?






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