10 Difference Between Active And Passive Voice With Examples

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What Is Active Voice?

The active voice is typically the widely used voice, and it describes the subject actually doing the action. Active voice sentences are more direct and shorter than passive voice sentences. Therefore, they are less confusing and less ambiguous.

Well, consider the following examples:

“She is cycling towards the school.”

“She is driving along the freeway.”

“She is carrying a bucket of water.”

In all of these examples, you can see that the subject of each sentence is directly carrying out the action being described – cycling, driving and carrying. As well as, the verb is happening to the object of each sentence.

What Is Passive Voice?

The passive voice is the opposite of active voice. Unlike the active voice, the action is not performed by the subject rather; the action is performed on the subject. The receiver of the action is at the beginning of the sentence and the doer of the action follows the verb.  In this case, the action is said to be “passive”.

Well consider the following examples:

“The fee was collected by the Clerk.”

“The ball was donated by her.”

“The cheques were issued by him.”

It is quite clear that the examples above contain the word “was”. This is because to form the passive voice, you use the verb “to be” with the past participle – so you use “was collected”, “was donated” and “were issued”. You can also use the word “got” to create the passive voice. For example:

“The thief got caught by the police.”

You can also highlight who is actually doing the action in a passive voice sentence, by using the word “by”.

For example:

“The cake was prepared by her cousin.”

So where exactly is the difference between the passive and active voice? Now, consider some of the examples from above:

In the passive voice you would say”

“The thief got caught by the police”

The thief is the subject of the sentence here, whereas the police are the object.

In the active voice, this would be the opposite – but the meaning would still be the same:

“The police caught the thief.”

In conclusion, it important to note that, the active voice is the one used most often, in everyday conversation and in most writing whereas the passive voice is used when you want to draw attention to the thing the verb is happening to, rather than what is doing it. It is also important to note that, a sentence cannot be turned into passive voice unless it has a direct object.

Difference Between Active And Passive Voice

  1. The object of ActiveVoice becomes the subject in a Passive Voice.
  2. ActiveVoice is used to write direct sentences or conversations, whereas PassiveVoice is used to write descriptive sentences.
  3. In ActiveVoice, the action is performed by the subject, whereas, in PassiveVoice, the action is done upon the subject.
  4. In ActiveVoice, the producer of the action is followed by the verb, whereas, in PassiveVoice, the producer of the action is preceded by the verb.
  5. In ActiveVoice, the recipient of the action is preceded by the verb, whereas, in PassiveVoice, the recipient of the action is followed by the verb.
  6. In the Activevoice, the tone of the sentence is subjective and authoritative, whereas, in Passive Voice, the tone of the sentence objective and neutral.
  7. In ActiveVoice, sentences are more direct and clear, whereas, in Passive Voice, sentences are indirect and confusing.
  8. Given that active verbs undergo a major change in passive voice, these sentences tend to be longer than those of active voice.

Examples Of Active And Passive Voice

PASSIVE VOICE PASSIVE VOICE
Mr. Gerald carried his baby in his car. The baby was carried by Mr. Gerald in his car.
The acid damaged the floor. The floor was damaged by the acid.
The doctor will give the prescription. The prescription will be given by the doctor.
The whole class did the experiment. The experiment was done by the whole class.
His personal assistant is making all the reservations. All the reservations are being made by his personal assistant.
Keizer will cook the food for the entire family. The food for the entire family will be cooked by Keizer.
Biden generously donated money to the Charity. Money was generously donated to the charity by Biden.
The two presidents are signing the trade agreement. The trade agreement is being signed by the two presidents.
Thousands of tourists from America visits Kenya and South Africa every year. Kenya and South Africa is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
Daddy refurbished the house to give it a new look. The house was refurbished by Daddy to give it a new look.
The company requires every employee to have a computer. Every employee is required by the company to have a computer.
The Dean always responds to students’ concerns. The students’ concerns are always responded to by the Dean.
My mother will give the money for the road trip. The money for the road trip will be given by my mother.
The Journalists filmed the event. The event was filmed by the Journalists.
The management fired the cashier. The cashier was fired by the management.

Summary

In a sentence written in the active voice, the subject of sentence performs the action. In a sentence written in the passive voice the subject receives the action. Active is used for most non-scientific writing. Use of active voice for the majority of your sentences makes your meaning clear for readers and keeps the sentences from becoming too complicated or wordy. Even in scientific writing, too much use of passive voice can distort the meaning of your sentences.