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Active Voice

In English Grammar, verb is a very important part of speech. As we know, any action or a state of being is expressed with the help of a verb. Verbs have two forms. The two forms are active and passive voice.

In most sentences with an action verb, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb. This is the voice that we use most of the time in our day to day conversation. Since we use this voice in our normal day to day conversation most of the times, we are all familiar with the active voice.

What is Active Voice?
In a sentence, when the subject (doer of the action) does the action expressed with the help of a verb, it is known as active voice. In active sentences, the thing doing the action is the subject of the sentence and the thing receiving the action is the object. In this kind of voice, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb.

So as the subject performs the action, the object receives the action of the verb. When the subject is acted upon by the verb, it is known as Passive voice. Using active voice for most of your sentences makes it clear for readers, and keeps the sentences from becoming too complicated or wordy.

       Active Voice                     Subject                      Verb                        Object           
   The hunter   killed   the lion. 
   I  wrote   the letter. 
   The cat  killed  the mouse. 
   The boy  received   the prize.
   The man  sang  the song
   The police  caught  the thief.
   The woman   fell  in the pond. 
   The girl  drove  the car.

In the first example, 

  • The hunter killed the lion. The subject is the hunter, killed is the past tense of the verb ‘kill’ and the object is the lion.
  • So the doer of the action is the hunter, (the hunter is killing the lion)
  • Killed –is the action performed by the subject the hunter.
  • The lion is the receiver of the action. 
Similarly in the next sentence,
  • I wrote the letter. I is the subject in the sentence, Wrote is the verb.
  • The subject is doing the writing. (Writing- action)

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Active Voice Rules

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The active voice expresses straight forward relationship between the subject and the verb.In order to learn what active voice is, there are some rules that need to be followed.

  • The subject (doer of the action) does the action expressed in the form of the verb.
            Example: The man hit the boy.
            In the above sentence, the man is the subject of the sentence. The man performs the action of hitting in              the sentence. From this sentence, the subject and verb has a straightforward relationship.
  • In active voice, the focus is always on the subject i.e. the doer of the action. The subject is used in the start of a sentence
  • The structure of active voice is  Subject + verb + object
  • Avoid starting a sentence in active voice and then shifting to passive.
  • The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb. 
  • Don't forget to explain the point you're trying to make

Examples of Active Voice

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  1. The dog bit the man.
  2. Right now, Sarah is writing the letter.
  3. The boy ate two pizzas at dinner.
  4. The birds are flying high in the sky.
  5. I knew Jemm would finish the work by 5:00 PM.
  6. Beautiful giraffes roam the savannah.
  7. The teacher always answers the students’ questions.
  8. Mom read the novel in one day.
  9. Susan will bake three dozen cupcakes for the bake sale.
  10. The kangaroo carried her baby in her pouch.
  11. At 8:00 PM tonight, John is going to be washing the dishes.

Active Voice Examples according to various tenses:
The below sentences shows us how the action is performed by the subject and thus the subject becomes the doer of the action.

                            TENSE FORMS                                                                  ACTIVE VOICE EXAMPLES                                           
 1. Simple Present     Timothy washes his clothes every day. 
  She cleans the house every Saturday. 
 2. Present Continuous    Sheila is writing a letter now.
  Jessica is attending her music class right now. 
 3. Simple Past   Marilyn faxed her job application.
  Pamela played with her friends.
 4. Past Continuous   The man was changing the tire when the accident happened. 
  The boy was solving sums when the bell rang.
 5. Present Perfect   Many visitors have come to our house.
  Many beautiful plants have grown in their terrace.
 6. Present Perfect Continuous    Recently, the salesman has been helping the customers.
  The vendors have been delivering the goods on time nowadays. 
 7. Past Perfect   I had stayed in this house since my childhood.
  Harry had repaired many cars before he got his mechanic’s license. 
 8. Simple Future (will)   No one will complete the work by tonight.
  Everyone will attend tomorrow’s meeting.
 9. Simple Future (going to)    My wife is going to wear a beautiful gown tonight.
  The beautiful lady is going to visit us tomorrow morning.
 10. Future Continuous  (will) (going to)    Rachel will be completing her homework by 10 am tomorrow.
  At 9:00 PM tonight, Joella is going to be washing the dishes.
 11. Future Perfect    They will have completed their work by now.
  The company will have completed their reviews before the end of this month. 
 12. Used to   I used to teach music
  Paul used to smoke cigarettes.
 13. Would Always   My father would always make the pies.
  Maybe it would always be there, but hopefully it would fade.

Change the sentences below to the active voice.
  • The museum is being visited by hundreds of tourists every year.
  • My books were stolen by someone yesterday.
  • Coffee is raised in many parts of Africa by plantation workers.
  • The house had been broken into by someone while the owners were on vacation.
  • A girl was being carried downstairs by a very strong fire-fighter.
  • Have you seen the new movie that was directed by Dan Brown?
  • My car is in the garage being fixed by an uncertain mechanic.
  • These books had been left in the classroom by a careless student.
  • Recently, the work has been being done by John.
  • I thought a beautiful dinner was going to be made by Sally tonight.
  • The shoplifter was tackled by my cousin.
  • A movie is going to be watched by us tonight.
  • That piece is really enjoyed by the choir.
  • Money was generously donated to the homeless shelter by Katie.
  • The last cookie was eaten by whom?
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