How to Write Active and Passive English Sentences

 How to Write Active and Passive English Sentences

The first style decision is writing with a voice. Writers have to choose to write an
active or passive English Sentence.

In an active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb. The
active voice of a verb simply denotes the form of the verb used when the subject is the
doer of the action.

Example: The windstorm broke the window.

The passive voice of a verb is the form of the verb is used when the subject is being
acted upon rather than performing the action. In a passive voice, the subject of the
sentence is affected by the action of the verb. The passive should only be used if the
focus or importance is required for the receiver of the action.

Example: The window was broken during the storm.

Using the appropriate tense of the verb "to be" and adding the past participle usually
forms a passive voice sentence. In the following examples note that the tense of the verb
to be in the passive voice is the same as the tense of the main verb in the active voice.

Example verb: to keep

Verb tense or form --- active voice --- passive voice

Simple present --- keeps --- is kept

Present continuous --- is keeping --- is being kept

Simple past --- kept --- was kept

Past continuous --- was keeping --- was being kept

Present perfect --- have kept --- have been kept

Past perfect --- had kept --- had been kept

future --- will keep --- will be kept

Conditional present --- would keep --- would be kept

Conditional past --- would have kept --- would have been kept

present infinitive --- to keep --- to be kept

perfect infinitive --- to have kept --- to have been kept

present participle --- keeping --- being kept

perfect participle --- having kept --- having been kept

Example sentences:

Active: I keep the milk in the fridge.
Passive: The milk is kept in the fridge.

Active: They stole the car.
Passive: The car was stolen.

Active: They are repairing the roof.
Passive: The roof is being repaired.

Active: A dog bit him.
Passive: He was bitten by a dog.

If you liked this page of English grammar explanations and samples and would like more - you can buy the 96 page
grammar summary "Blueprint for English" eBook (for 5 dollars)and get the SentenceMaster practice word cards.
Use this grammar eBook to become an English writer.

Special Note for ESL English as a Second Language Teachers

Using the practice word cards in this challenge format is an excellent method of focusing the student's attention
on the 28 to 40 words in use. Teachers can confirm that the students know the various functions of the words
by parts of speech. Any missing information can be an excellent opportunity for teaching vocabulary,
language comprehension and context.

Teachers can use the Sentence Master practice word cards to teach the 1000 most used core English language words and
demonstrate the wide variety of context variations used in written English communication.

After the students have mastered the creation of many sentences using the original six word cards - you can replace
one or more cards, add some cards or start with six new cards. When students need additional complexity and advanced
skills practice there are 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, word challenges and the grid quiz.

Using the practice word cards can help ESL English teachers focus attention, stage the learning step by step,
expand vocabulary, teach grammar, context, and comprehension and even have some fun.

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