Active Voice

When the doer of the action is mentioned you are using the active voice. Let us learn more.

What Is Active Voice in English?

What Is the Active Voice?

The 'active voice' is used to indicate the relationship between the subject and the verb when the subject is the doer of the action. Mostly, using an active voice makes the sentences short, direct, and clear.

How to Construct Active Voice?

'Active voice' normally is comprised of a subject at the beginning of the sentence as the doer of the action followed by either transitive or intransitive verb. In this case, if the verb is transitive, there is a direct object used after it. If the verb is intransitive, we may have a complement at the end of the sentence but not a direct object. Check out the examples:

The man was standing next to my car.

The man is the subject and also it acts upon the verb 'standing,' here.

I ate the birthday cake.

'I' acts upon the verb 'eating,' here.

She drinks tea.

'She' is the subject and the doer of the verb 'drinking,' here.

Intransitive Verbs

One of the ways to discover an 'active voice' is to find the verb of the sentence and decide whether it is a transitive or an intransitive verb. All the sentences with intransitive verbs are in active voice. Check these examples out for more clarification:

This perfume smells like flower.

Luisa danced well.

She walked across the hall.

Not an Active Voice

Sometimes there is a subject at the beginning of the sentence, but it is actually the receiver of the action not the doer of it. In this case, a passive voice is formed Look at the examples.

The girl was robbed.

In this example the girl (subject) did not do the act of robbing.

The novel was read by thousands of people.

'The novel' did not do the act of 'reading' in this example.

Sometimes the subject or doer of the action is mentioned at the end of the sentence following the preposition 'by.' In this case, there is a passive voice, not an active voice. Here are the examples.

The baby was fed by her mother.

The dog was left by its owner.

The house was cleaned by Hanna.

In this example, 'Hanna' is the doer of the action but 'the house' is the subject. So there is a passive voice.

No Subjects

a sentence in the active voice

Sometimes you cannot see the subject in the sentences but they are implied. One of the most important active sentences is the imperative sentence. In imperatives the subject 'you' is implied but it is definitely an active voice. For example:

Go!

Read it again, please!

Do not talk in the class room.

Linking Passive Voice to the Active Voice

Active voice can easily be followed by a passive voice. We mean the subject might be important in the first clause but not in the second clause. Check out the examples.

I saw the man who was killed yesterday.

We watched a movie last night which was directed by Tim Burton.

Tip!

Grammarians usually tend to use active voice in writings because it is clear and sharp besides being short and easy to understand. However, when it comes to scientific theories it is usually better to use passive voice. Here are the examples.

The blood is pumped all over your body within a second.

In this example, passive is used for a scientific fact.

The brain is protected by the sculp.

Review

Active voice is formed when the subject is acting upon the verb. Let us take a look a few active examples:

She is nice.

She slept well last night.

Hanna got along well with Tony.

Here is a table to describe which sentences can be an active voice:

Active Voice
Sentences with intransitive verbs
Sentences with no subjects
Sentences in causative forms
Sentences with transitive verbs and a direct object
Sentences with subjects added to (by)

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