Voice change Describing a process

Etymology: The term “Voice” comes from Latin Word “Vocem” and Old French word “Voiz” means “Voice, speech, sound, cry, word, saying, report, utterance, call, rumor”.

Definition: Voice is the form of a verb which is used to say what people or things do or what is done to them. On the other hand, voice is the form of a verb that says what subject does and how (Actively or passively).

Active Voice Passive Voice
I have done the work. The work has been done by me.
Tania did her homework and assignment. Homework and assignment.

There are two types of voice.

A. Active Voice

B. Passive Voice

Active voice: Active voice is the form of a verb which is used to say what the subject does. When the subject is the person or thing doing the action (The agent), then we use an active verb.

Passive voice: Passive voice is the form of a verb which is used to say what happens to the subject. Passive verb is a form of “Be + passive participle”. When the subject or thing is not doing the action (not the agent), then we use a passive verb.

NB: Generally, there is no passive form of the verb which has no object.

There are two types of changes in the voice.

Active to passive

Passive to active

Steps of change of voice (active to passive voice)

Use “Object” of the verb of the active voice as “Subject” in the passive sentence.

Use “Subject” as “Object” in the passive sentence.

Use preposition (By, with, to….) before the object of the verb of the passive sentence.

Use auxiliary verb before main verb.

Use always pas participle form of the main verb.

Generally, use preposition “By” before indirect object (me, us, him, her, them, and you)

Generally, use preposition “With” before direct object (it or any name of something).

Rules for active to passive voice.

Rule-1: Change of tense.
Tenses Active voice Passive voice
Present simple Do/does/main verb + s/es Am/is/are + verb p.p
Present continuous Am/is/are Am/is/are + being + verb p.p
Present perfect Have/has Have/has + been + verb p.p
Past simple Did/past form of the main verb Was/were + verb p.p
Past continuous Was/were Was/were + being + verb p.p
Past perfect Had Had been + verb p.p
Future simple Shall/will Shall/will + be + verb p.p
Future continuous Shall be/will be Shall/will + be + being + verb p.p
Future perfect Shall have/will have Shall/will + have +been + verb p.p
Going to future Am/is/are going to Am/is/are going to + be + verb p.p
Present infinitives ….to be ….. to be + verb p.p
Model auxiliary verbs Can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, ought to, must Can/could/may/might/shall/should/
will/would/ought to/must + be + v.p.p
To have verbs Have to/has to/had to Have/has/had + to + be + verb p.p

Examples:-

Active voice Passive voice
Nipa does homework. Homework is done by Nipa.
Jannat is making a doll. A doll is being made by Jannat.
Tania has made a beautiful bag. A beautiful bag has been made by Tania.
John drank a glass of milk. A glass of milk was drunk by John.
Mamun was singing a song. A song was being sung by Mamun.
Tushar had invented a new spacecraft. A new spacecraft had been invented by Tushar.
Meem will eat a banana. A banana will be eaten by Meem.
Reemi will be singing a song. A song will be being sung by Reemi.
They will have playing football. Football will have been played by them.
I am going to by a motor cycle. A motor cycle is going to be bought by me.
He can recite a poem. A poem can be recited by him.
She has to do this work. This work has to be done by her.

Rule-2: Assertive sentence with double object (direct and indirect object)

1. Take one of the objects (direct or indirect) as subject in the passive form.

2. Keep another object stable. This object is called retained object.

3. Follow the rest the steps of voice mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.

Active voice Passive voice
I gave him some money.

He was give some money by me.

Or, Some money was given by me.

Jannat taught us English.

We were taught English by Jannat.

Or, English was taugh by Jannat.

My father sent money for me. Money was sent for me by my father.

NB: It is better to take indirect object as subject.

NB: It is better to take object (which has no preposition before) as subject, (See, Example:-3)

Rule-3: Assertive sentence with present participle.

Take the object (immediate to main verb or before present participle) as subject

Use auxiliary verb according to the tense

Use past participle form of the main verb

Keep present participle unchanged

Use by/other preposition (if necessary)

Use subject of the active voice as object.

Active voice Passive voice
I saw him taking the money bag. He was seen taking the money bag by me.
The old man heard Nipa saying this. Nipa was heard saying this by the old man.
He helped her doing this work. She was helped doing this work by him.

Rule-4: Assertive sentence with cognate object.

Take cognate object as subject in the passive form

Use appropriate auxiliary verb

Use past participle form of the main verb

Use by or other preposition (in necessary)

Take subject as object in the passive form.

Active voice Passive voice
She a bad dream. A bad dream was dreamt by her.
He ran a race. A race was run by him.
He broke the broken glass. The broken glass broken by him.
Mamun worked hard work. Hard work was worked by Mamun
They played a fair play. A fair play was played by them.
He slept a sound sleep. A sound sleep was slept by him.
They fought a good fight. A good fight was fought by them.

NB: Verb that takes synonymous object of its own is called cognate verb and object that cognate verb takes is called cognate object. For instance, run is a cognate verb and race is a cognate object.

Rule-5: Assertive sentence with factitive object/complementary object.

Don’t use factitive object as subject in the passive form.

Take second object (that is before of the factitive object) as subject in the passive form.

Use appropriate auxiliary verb

Use past participle form of the main verb

Use by or other preposition (if necessary)

Take subject as object in the passive form

Active voice Passive voice
We made him captain (factitive object) He was made captain by us.
The elected him chariman. (factitive verb) He was elected chaiman by them.

NB: When intransitive verb can’t express its whole meaning with an object, in this case, it needs another object to express whole meaning. This additional object is known as factitive/complementary object. Generally, the following verbs require factitive object.

Elect, select, nominate, call, make, give, choose, name, appoint etc.

Rule-6: When intransitive verb acts as group verb, we change voice in the same way that we, generally, do for voice.

Active voice Passive voice
He laughs at the poor boy. The poor boy is laughed at by him.
We should not jeer at the lame man. The lame man should not be jeered at by us.
Drugs act upon our health. Our health is acted upon with drugs.
He willingly brought about the accident. The accident was brought about willingly by him.

Rule-7: Assertive sentence with Quasi-passive verb, some verbs appear active apparently, but express passive meaning. These verbs are called Quasi-passive verb.

For example:-

Taste, like, feel, read, look, sell, write, smell, mark, make, print, milk, smile, listen etc.

There are two types of quasi-passive verb

Quasi-passive verb with complement

Quasi-passive verb without complement

Follow the steps to change the voice of quasi-passive verb with complement

Remain subject unchanged in both active and passive form.

Use auxiliary verb (usually, is).

Use the adjective which is existed in active form.

Use “When it is/when they are/if it is/if they are”.

Use past participle form of the main verb.

Active voice Passive voice
Rice sells cheap. Rice is cheap when/if it is sold.
The bed feels soft. The bed is soft when/if it is felt.
The books read well. The books are well when/if they are read.
The flowers smell sweet. The flowers are sweet when/if they are smelt.

Alternative rule for quasi-passive verb with complement.

Remain subject unchanged in both active and passive form.

Remain to be verb unchanged.

Used past participle form of the main verb.

Place adjective at the end of the sentence.

Active voice Passive voice
Rice sells cheap. Rice is sold cheap.
The bed feels soft. The bed is felt soft.
The books read well. The books are read well.
The flowers smell sweet. The flowers are smelt sweet.

Follow the steps to change the voice of quasi-passive verb without complements

Keep subject unchanged.

Keep auxiliary verb unchanged.

Use “Being” after auxiliary verb

Use past participle form of the main verb.

Active voice Passive voice
The house is building. The house is being built.
The bag is making. The bag is being made.
The book is printing. The book is being printed.

Rule-8: Assertive sentence with reflexive object (myself, himself, herself, itself, themselves).

Follow the steps to change the voice of reflexive object.

Keep subject unchanged.

Use the auxiliary verb (am, is are…).

Use past participle form of the main verb.

Use preposition “By” or other prepositions (if necessary).

Keep object unchanged.

Active voice Passive voice
He killed himself. He was killed by himself.
They played themselves. They were played by themselves.
She works herself. She is worked by herself.

Rule-9: Assertive sentence with the following structure.

Subject + agree/arranged/be anxious/determine/be determined/decide/decided/demand etc. + infinitive + verb with base form +….. Follow the steps mentioned below when we changed it from active to passive voice.

Put subject of the active voice.

Put verb mentioned in the structure.

Use conjunction “That”.

Put object.

Use “should be”.

Use past participle form of the verb (verb after infinitive-To).

Use other word (if have).

Active voice Passive voice
He determined to buy private car. He determined that a private car should be bought.
They decided to call a meeting. They decided that a meeting should be called.
She agreed to take the offer. She agreed that the offer should be taken.

Rule-10: We use bare infinitive (infinitive without “To”) after the following verb.

Behold, bid, do, dare, feel, need, know, make, hear, go, help, see, watch etc. But, we use them with “infinitive-to” in the passive form. To change the voice of these verbs, follow rule-3.
Active voice Passive voice
I saw him sing. He was seen to go by me.
She makes me come to here. I am made to go to there by her.
They dare do this risky task. This risky task is dared to do by them.

Rule-11: Assertive sentence with the following structure.

Subject + advise/beg/insist/order/propose/recommend/suggest/urge + gerund/infinitive ….

Can be changed from active to passive according to the following steps.

Place subject of the active voice.

Use one of the verbs mentioned in the active form.

Use conjunction “That”.

Use object mentioned after gerund/infinitive.

Use auxiliary verb “Should be”.

Use past participle form of the main verb (acted as gerund/infinitive in the active voice).

Active voice Passive voice
My father advised being a good man. My father advised that a good man should be been.
Rahim suggested giving up smoking. Rahim suggested that smoking should be given up.
The principal recommended Mr. Faysal to give financial support for the study tour. principal recommended that financial support for the study tour should be given.
Mamun proposed making a plan for our company. Mamun proposed that a plan for our company should be made.

Rule-12: Change of voice with the following assertive pattern.

Subject + desire/like/love/feel/wish/want/make/need/hope/require etc. + infinitive-to + object +…

Keep subject unchanged.

Keep verb (mentioned in the structure) unchanged.

Use “To be” as helping verb.

Use past participle form the main verb mentioned as infinitive in the active form.

Use preposition “By”.

Place indirect object mentioned just after the verbs-desire/want/wish/need etc.

Active voice Passive voice
Nipa wants me to complete the assignment. Nipa wants the assignment to be completed by me.
Tania desires Niha to do the work. Tania desired the work to be done by Niha.
She need me to do homework. She need homework to be done by me.

Rule-13: Changed of voice with expression.

There is no + noun + infinitive-to + verb + other words (if necessary)

Keep unchanged the expression “There is no”.

Place the noun mentioned in the active form just before the infinitive-to.

Use “To be” as helping verb.

Use past participle form of the verb mentioned just after Infinitive-to.

Active voice Passive voice
There is no time to talk to you. There is no time to be talked (to him).
There is no opportunity to give you. There is no opportunity to be given.
There is no money to waste. There is no money to be wasted.
There is no way to solve the problem. There is no way to be solved the problem.

Rule-14: Change of voice of the complex sentence.

Change the voice of both principal and subordinate clauses in according with the general rule of voice.

If same subject is used for the both clauses, used it as object for both with preposition “By”.

If there is not object in the principal of subordinate clause, use introductory “It” in the passive form as subject.

Sometimes, an entire clauses may be used as subject of object in the complex sentence. In the case, use the entire clauses as subject of object in the passive form.

Active voice Passive voice
Kobita told me that she was doing the work. I was told that the work was being done by Kobita.
I know that Didar scold Tisha. It is known to me that Tisha was scolded by Didar.
We told him that he was a liar. He was told by us that he was a liar.
He knows where Mr. Jamal was born. Where Mr. Jamal was born is known to him.

Rule-15: Sometimes, less or unimportant subject is used in the active form, but it is unnecessary to use in the passive form. In this case, we can avoid that unimportant subject. Someone/somebody/something/one and other unimportant subjects are may be found in the active form of the verb.

Avoid unimportant subject in the passive form.

Use object as subject in the passive from.

Use auxiliary verb.

Use past participle form of the main verb.

Use other words (if have).

More information for rule-15.

In the most cases, we mention the agent (person or thing doing action), but in some cases, we silent the agent if it is less important.

We do not mention the agent if it does not add any new information.

We do not mention the agent if it is not important.

Sometimes it is difficult to say who the agent is and in this case, we silent the agent.

Active voice Passive voice
Someone stole my watch. My watch was stolen.
Somebody has seen the baby. The baby was seen.
Someone picked my pocked. My pocket was picked.
Nipa had sold her ring. Her ring had been sold.
Mamun refused our proposal. Our proposal was refused.
The police arrested the criminal. The criminal was arrested.

* We do not need to mention the agents (thief, police etc.), because they are less important or not our focusing point. We need to know what’s happened to the agents.

Rule-16: Sometimes, an active sentence with verbs “allow, award, fed, give, grant, hand, leave, lend, offer, owe, pay, promise, sell, send, show, teach” etc. can have two different structures.

Active voice Passive voice Comment
Some flowers were given to nipa. Nipa was given some flowers. This is about flowers, and it tells us who received them.
Some money was sent to Mamun. Mamun was sent some money. This is about Nipa, and it tells us what she received.

Rule-17: When we do not need to say who the speaker is, we use the following structures in the passive form the verb.

It + passive verb (helping verb + v.p.p form) + clause with verbs of reporting.

Here, some verbs we can use in this structure.
Agree, allege, announce, assure, believe, consider, decide, expect, hope, know, report, say, suggest, suppose, think, understand etc.
Passive voice/form Comment
It is said that company is planning a new advertising campaign. We do not need to mention speaker/agent, because our focus is on the action, not on the speaker.
It is thought that Mamun is going to open a project for the development of the villagers.
It is said that Kabir is in love with Cynthia Roy.

Rule-18: We can also use the following structure that is basically used in the news reports.

Subject + passive verb + To-infinitives….

Here some verbs we can use in this structure.

Believe, expert, find, know, report, say, think, understand etc.
Passive form
Kabir is said to be in love with Cynthia Roy.
Mamun is thought to be opened a project for the development of the villagers.

Rule-19: It is often seen that different verbs follow different prepositions. In that case, preposition “By” may not be appropriate. Hence, we have to use appropriate preposition in that case.

Verbs Prepositions Active voice Passive voice
Annoy, satisfy, please, shock, stun, vex, fill, plug, stop, displease, dissatisfy, depress, load, block, teem, seize etc. With He pleased me.This news shocked me. I was pleased with him.I was shocked with this news.
Annoy, astound, astonish, please, shock, stun, vex, thrill, surprise, gratify, etc. At His word pleased me. His mother’s death shocked me. I was pleased at his word. I was shocked at his mother’s death.
Know To I know the old man. The old man is known to me.
Interest, contain, confine restrain, control etc. In This book contains more information. More information is contained in this book.

Rule-20: After the subject there we can use either an active or a passive To-infinitive.

Active sentence Passive sentence
There are some letters to write. There are some letters to be written.
There was a work to do. There was a work to be done.
There is a book to read. There is a book to be read.

Change of voice of the imperative sentence

Rule-1: Imperative sentence beginning with main verb can be changed from active to passive according to the following steps.

Place “Let” at the beginning of the passive sentence.

Place object.

Use “Be” as helping verb.

Use past participle form of the main verb.

Active voice Passive voice Note

Work out the math.

Complete the assignment.

Change the voice.

Bring the lamp.

Let the math be worked.

Let the assignment be completed.

Let the voice be changed.

Let the lamp be brought.

You can use “By you” at the end of the passive sentence
thought it is unnecessary to be mentioned.

Do not make a noise.

Don’t close the window.

Don’t jeer at the lame.

Let not a noise be made.

Let not the window be closed.

Let not the lame be jeered at.

For negative sentence, use “Let not”

Never tell a lie.

Never do this work.

Let never this work be done.

Let never this work be done.

Imperative sentence with “Never” follows “Let never” in the passive.

Rule-2: If there is any adverb in the imperative sentence, then keep that adverb at of the passive sentence.

Active voice Passive voice
Do this work now? Let the work be done now.
Make a plan immediately. Let a plan be made immediately.
Bring the book quickly. Let the book be brought quickly.

Rule-3: Imperative sentence with intransitive verbs can be changed according to the following steps.

Use the expression “You are requested”

Use “To”.

Keep rest of the sentence unchanged.

Active voice Passive voice Note

Go there,

Come here,

Walk around,

Fight bravely,

Sing now.

You are ordered to go there.

You are requested to come here.

You are told to walk around.

You are ordered to fight bravely.

You are requested to sing now.

You can use “You are
requested/asked/ordered
/commanded/told/advised” etc.
according to the meaning of
the imperative sentence.

Please sing a song.

Please come here.

Please give a pen.

You are requested to sing a song.

You are requested to come here.

You requested to give a pen.

When imperative sentence contains the word please,
use the expression “You are requested”.

Rule-4: Imperative sentence with direct and indirect can be changed according to the following steps.

Use “Let” at the beginning of the sentence.

Use direct object.

Use be.

Use past participle form or the main verb.

Use preposition “For/to”.

Use indirect object at the end of the passive sentence.

Active voice Passive voice
Give me some money. Let some money be given for me.
Pluck me some flowers. Let some flowers be pluck for me.
Tell me the truth. Let the truth be told to me.
Give him a glass of water. Let a glass of water be given for him.
Give them some bananas. Let some bananas be given for them.
Lend him some money. Let some money be lent to him.

Rule-5: Some imperative sentences can be changed into passive sentence in two way.

Way-one: Let + object (direct/indirect) + be + passive participle.

Way-two: Object + should be + passive participle.

Active voice Passive voice Passive voice
Keep you promise. Let your promise be kept. Your promised should be kept.
Obey you parents. Let your parents be obeyed. Your parents should be obeyed.
Love you motherland. Let your motherland be loved. Your motherland should be loved.
Help the poor. Let the poor helped. The poor should be helped.
Remove the illiteracy. Let the illiteracy be removed. The illiteracy should be remove.

Rule-6: Imperative sentence with “Let” can be changed according to the following way.

Keep “Let” unchanged.

Put direct object.

Use “Be” as auxiliary verb.

Use past participle form of the verb.

Use preposition “By” or other prepositions (if necessary)

Keep indirect object at the end of the passive sentence.

Active voice Passive voice
Let me do the sum. Let the sum be done by me.
Let him write a paragraph. Let a paragraph be written by him.
Let them play football. Let football be played by them.
Let her sing a song. Let a song be sung by her.
Let me read the book. Let the book be read by me.
Let them discuss the matter. Let the matter be discussed by them.

Interrogative sentence

Rule-1: Interrogative sentence beginning with auxiliary verbs can be changed into passive sentence according the following way.

Keep auxiliary verb at the beginning of the sentence.

Put object as subject in the passive sentence.

Use past participle form the main verb.

Use preposition by or other preposition (If necessary).

Put subject at the end of the passive sentence.

Active voice Passive voice Note

Is Nipa doing the work?

Are they playing football?

Did Kamal complete the work?

Did students clean the field? Is the work done by Nipa?

Is football played by them?

Was the work completed by Kamal?

Was the field cleaned by students?

Interrogative sentence with “do/does”, takes “am/is/are” in the passive form.

With “did”, takes “was/were”.

For others, follow rules of the changes of tenses.

Rule-2: Interrogative sentence with WH-words.

Put WH-words at the beginning of the passive sentence.

Put helping verb.

Use object (If have).

Use past participle form the main verb.

Use preposition by or other prepositions (If necessary).

Put subject at the end of the passive sentence.

Active voice Passive voice Note

Which pen do you want?

How did you do this work?

How have you found the way?

What does he do?

Who closed the window?

Who could buy this car?

Whom do you want?

Whom is he scolding?

Which pen is wanted by you?

How was this work done by you?

How has the way been found by you?

What is done by him?

By whom was the window closed?

By whom could this car be bought?

Who is wanted by you?

Who is being scolded by him?

Use appropriate auxiliary verb according to tense and subject.

Use “By whom” instead of “Who”.

Use “Who” instead of “Whom”.





Steps of change of voice

(Passive to active voice)

Rule-1: This is general rule that is just opposite to the rule of change of voice from active to passive.

Put object of the passive sentence as subject in the active form.

Use correct form of tense.

Use subject of the passive sentence as object in the active form.

Avoid preposition (By, with, at...)

For group verb, keep hold the prepositions

Rule-2: Sometimes, less or unimportant subject is used in the active form, but it is unnecessary to use in the passive form. In this case, we can avoid that unimportant subject. Someone/somebody/something/one and other unimportant subjects may be found in the active form of the verb.

Avoid unimportant subject in the passive form.

Use object as subject in the passive from.

Use auxiliary verb.

Use past participle form of the main verb.

Use other words (if have).

More information for rule-2.

In the most cases, we mention the agent (person or thing doing action), but in

some cases, we silent the agent if it is less important.

We do not mention the agent if it does not add any new information.

We do not mention the agent if it is not important.

Sometimes it is difficult to say who the agent is and in this case, we silent the agent.

When it is not preferable to mention the agent, then we use passive form of the verb.

When we emphasize on the action of the agent rather than the agent or performer, we use passive form of the verb.

To describe social and historical significance and events, we use passive form of the verb.

In the newspaper reports, we use passive form of the verb.

In the invitations, requests, and announcement, we use passive form of the verb.

We use the passive in both speech and writing, but it is more common in writing.

Besides this, we use it to describe activities in industry, science and technology, and also for official rules.

Active voice Passive voice Comment

Someone stole my watch.

Somebody has seen the baby.

Someone picked my pocked.

Nipa had sold her ring.

Mamun refused our proposal.

The police arrested the criminal.

My watch was stolen.

The baby was seen.

My pocket was picked.

Her ring had been sold.

Our proposal was refused.

The criminal was arrested.

* We do not need to mention the agents (thief, police etc.),
because they are less important or not our focusing point.
We need to know what’s happened to the agents.




Rule-3: Sometimes, an active sentence with verbs “allow, award, fed, give, grant, hand, leave, lend, offer, owe, pay, promise, sell, send, show, and teach” etc. can have two different structure.

Active voice Passive voice Comment
Some flowers were given to Nipa. Nipa was given some flowers. This is about flowers and it tells us who.
Some money was sent to Mamun. Mamun was sent some money. This is about Nipa, and it tells us what she received.

Rule-4: When we do not need to say who the speaker is, we use the following structures in the passive form the verb: It + passive verb (helping verb + v.p.p form) + clause with verbs of reporting.

Here, some verbs we can use in this structure: Agree, allege, announce, assure, believe, consider, decide, expect, hope, know, report, say, suggest, suppose, think, understand etc.

Passive voice/form Comment

It is said that company is planning a new advertising campaign.

It is though that Mamun is going to open a project for the development of the villagers.

It is said that Kabir is in love with Cynthia Roy.

We do not need to mention the speaker/agent, because our focus is on the action, not on the speaker.



Rule-5: We can also use the following structure that is basically used in the news reports.

Subject + passive verb + To-infinitives….

Here some verbs we can use in this structure: Believe, expert, find, know, report, say, think, understand etc.

Passive form

Kabir is said to be in love with Cynthia Roy.

Mamun is thought to be opened a project for the development of the villagers.

Rule-6: We often use be supposed to for things that people say in the passive form.

Active voice

I might watch this program. It’s supposed to be very funny.

They will not go to market. It’s supposed to be noise.

Rule-7: We often use “Get” instead of “Be”.

Active voice Note

Lots of postmen get bitten by dogs.

I am always getting chosen for worst jobs.

Kamal got moved to another company last week.

Nipa got left her job last month.

Kabir is getting investigated the reason after accident occurred on 23rd January.

We also can use “Get”
in these expression “get
dresse/changed/washed/engaged/
married/divorced/
sharted/lost/killed/caught/burnt/drowned” etc.




Rule-8: We can use “Have” in the passive structure.

Subject + have/has/had + direct object + past participle form of the main verb + other words (If have).

Passive voice Note

We had the television repaired only last week.

We should have our car serviced regularly.

You have your hair cut.

They should have the work done quickly.

Is Nipa having new jog got?

Tania doesn’t have her hair cut.

We can use the perfect of the continuous form.

We can use a form or “Do” in the negative and interrogative sentence.





Rule-9: We can use “Get” in the passive structure.

Subject + get/got + direct object + past participle form of the main verb + other words (If have)

Passive sentence Note

Mark got his suit cleaned.

Where did you get your hair cut?

We are getting our playground dried.

How did you get your way lost?

We can the continuous form.

We can use a form of “Do” in the negative and interrogative sentence.

“Get and Have” have the same meaning, but “Get” is more informal that “Have”.

Rule-10: Some transitive verb- have/lack/become/resemble/hold/fit etc. have no passive form.

Tania resembles her mother.

The young man lacks courage.

He has a story book.

No passive form.