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 sentences  certain words  are used to support the main verb. These words are there to help the main verb and are called helping verb or modals e.g. Can, Could, May, Might, Should, Would, Ought to, Must etc.  While changing a sentence from active to passive voice the word ‘be’ is used with these words.
You can do your work now.
Your work can be done now by you.
You could not do your work.
Your work could not be done by you.
You may not help him.
He may not be helped by you.
She might not win the competition.
The competition might not be won by you.
They must do their work.
Their work must be done by them.
Can you lend me your pen?
Can I be lent your pen by you?
How should I start  my work?
How should my work be started by me?
When should I start my journey?
When should my journey be started by me?
Should we obey his orders?
Should his orders be obeyed by us?
You may leave the  room now.
The room may be left now by you.
May I leave now?
Am I allowed to leave now?
We should not waste our time.
Our time should not be wasted.
He might not contact you.
You might not be contacted by you.
The thieves might have  taken away the car.
The car might have been taken away by the thieves.




Practice Exercise ONE


  1. The police should arrest and  punish the culprits.
  2. You may leave a message for her.
  3. Who would take such a nasty decision?
  4. Where can I get  fresh fruit?
  5.  How could he start his work without your help?
  6. He can take his decision independently now.
  7. They would not agree to my proposal.
  8. He could not object to her suggestion.
  9.  Children must obey their parents.
  10. She might not pay off her dues.



Practice Exercise TWO


  1. Who would  escort the lady to the door?
  2. Should I deliver the  goods at your house?
  3. You may borrow books from her.
  4. You must maintain discipline in the office.
  5. They could not chalk out their future programme.
  6. He might not achieve the target.
  7. You ought to have fulfilled your promise.
  8. The girls would not have accomplished their job by then.
  9. The rival party can draw a wrong conclusion out of our action.
  10. Your brother ought to have listened to you.



Practice Exercise THREE


  1. Circumstances might have forced him to leave the job.
  2. He should not have betrayed her.
  3. He might have be-fooled her by his tricks.
  4. His father might have gifted him this car.
  5. She should not have opposed to his proposal.
  6. The machine may not grind the grains well.
  7. How can you solve the problem  at this time?
  8. They may not understand my point of view.
  9. You should have clarified the whole affair to them.
  10. It may take some time to resolve the  issue.



Practice Exercise FOUR


  1. His remarks might have annoyed her.
  2. She may not be pleased with his behaviour.
  3. You should have knocked at the door first.
  4. The traverllers might have lost their way in the forest.
  5. Heavy rains may damage the crops standing in fields.
  6. You might not have heard her voice.
  7. The physician may take time to diagnose his disease.
  8. You should not have used harsh words against him.
  9. You could have avoided such an ugly situation.
  10. Galloping inflation may play havoc with the economy.






  1. The culprits  should be arrested and  punished by  the police.
  2. A message  may be  left   for her by you.
  3. By whom would such a  nasty decision be taken ?
  4. Where can fresh fruit be got by me ?
  5.  How could his work be started without your help by him?
  6. His decision  can be  taken independently now by him.
  7. My proposal would not be agreed to by them
  8. Her suggestion could not be objected  to by him.
  9.  Parents must be obeyed by children.
  10. Her dues might not be paid off by her.




  • By whom  would  the lady be escorted to the door?
  • Should the goods be delivered at your house by me?
  • Books may be borrowed  from her by you.
  • Discipline must be maintained in the office.
  • Their future programme  could not be chalked out by them
  • The target might not be achieved by him
  • Your promise ought to have been  fulfilled by you.
  • Their job  would not have been accomplished by then by the  girls.
  • A wrong conclusion can be drawn out of our action by the rival party.
  • You ought to have been listened to by your brother.





  1. He might have been forced to leave the job.
  2. She should not have been betrayed by him.
  3. She might have been be-fooled by him by his tricks.
  4. He  might have been gifted this car by his father.
  5. His proposal should not have been opposed to by her.
  6. The grains may not be ground well by the machine.
  7. How can the problem be solved  at this time by you ?
  8. My point of view may not be understood by them.
  9. The whole affair should have been clarified  to them by you.
  10. It may take some time for the issue to be resolved.




  1. She might have been annoyed at his remarks.
  2. His behaviour  may not please her.
  3. The door should have been knocked at first by you.
  4. Their way might have been lost in the forest by the travellers.
  5. The crops standing in fields may be damaged by heavy rains.
  6. Her voice might not have been heard by you.
  7. The physician may take time for his disease to be diagnosed.
  8. Harsh words should not have been used against him by you.
  9. Such an ugly situation could have been avoided by you.
  10. Havoc may be played with the economy by galloping inflation.





   There are certain verbs with which in passive voice the word ‘by’ is not used and  in stead  some other word is used. A list of such words with substitutes of ‘by’  is given here under :


I know him.
He is known to me.


His behaviour surprised me.
I was surprised at his behaviour.


His conduct displeased me.
I was displeased with his conduct.


This box contains ten books.
Ten books are contained in this box.


This news shocked all the people present there.

All the people present there were shocked  at this news.


The young boy annoyed all of his friends.

Al of his friends were annoyed at the young man.






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