ACTIVE & PASSIVE VOICE
ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE RULES
Active Voice = When the person or the thing in the subject does something is called active voice; in other words the subject of the sentence is in action in the active voice.
Passive Voice = When something is done to the subject of the sentence is called passive voice; means the person or the thing of the subject does not perform the action denoted by the verb in the passive voice.
Read these two sentences and compare
1. Ranjan writes a letter.
2. A letter is written by Ranjan.
Obviously the verb in the second sentence is ‘IS WRITTEN’. We see that the structure of the verb here is BE+V3. When such is the structure of the verb the sentence is said to be in the passive voice. Sometimes the structure of the passive verb is ‘GET+V3’. But GET+V3 construction is not normally used in standard English. All other verb forms except an exception or two are said to be in the active voice.
So, the Hindi translation of the above two sentences is:
1. Ranjan writes a letter. (रंजन एक पत्र लिखता है.)
2. A letter is written by Ranjan. (रंजन द्वारा एक पत्र लिखा जाता है.)
NOTE: From the above we can say that verb form ‘BE+V3’ is in the passive voice and all other verb forms are in the active voice.
At times we have to change a sentence in the active voice into a sentence in the passive voice. Let’s see what changes are necessary.
1. The object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence, and the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the preposition ‘BY’ or any other suitable preposition in the passive sentence; sometimes this object does not need to be mentioned in the passive.
2. The verb of the active becomes in form of ‘BE+V3’.
3. The tense of the active sentence does not change at all. The tense of the verb in the active is denoted by an appropriate form of only ‘BE’ in the passive voice; V3 of the passive does not affect the tense form.
4. The type of sentence does not change; means it remains the same i.e. Assertive Sentence remains Assertive, Interrogative remains Interrogative and so on.
5. Future Continuous Tense and all Perfect Continuous Tenses i.e. Present/Past/Future Perfect Continuous Tenses cannot be converted into passive.
1. Renu loves Geeta.
= Geeta is loved by Renu.
[You see Geeta is the object of the active sentence and the tense is present simple. In the passive, as said above, the object Geeta becomes the subject of the sentence in the passive, and the verb BE (here IS) is in the present simple tense.]
2. Rahul is writing a book.
= A book is being written by Rahul.
[The verb in the active sentence is IS WRITING, means present continuous. In continuous tenses the continuous form of BE in the passive is BE+BEING; hence the verb of the passive voice will be ‘Is being written’ here.]
3. The peon opened the gate.
= The gate was opened by the peon.
4. Raju was eating a banana.
= A banana was being eaten by Raju.
5. I shall play badminton in the evening.
= Badminton will be played by me in the evening.
[The tense in the active, we see, is future simple; so we need future simple of BE, of course it is SHALL BE or WILL BE. But we use SHALL with the first person i.e. I or WE, but here our subject is BADMINTON (not in the first person), so we need WILL BE.]
6. I have finished my homework.
= My homework has been finished by me.
[The tense in the active is present perfect, so the present perfect of BE is needed. It will be HAS BEEN or HAVE BEEN. We use HAVE with I, WE or YOU, so HAS BEEN is required here.]
7. Little strokes fell great oaks.
= Great oaks are felled by little strokes.
[The verb FELL is second form of the verb FALL and first form of the verb FELL itself. The verb FALL is an intransitive verb, means without having an object, whereas the verb FELL is a transitive verb, means having an object. Here the object GREAT OAKS is given, therefore it’s the first form, means the present simple tense. Note the three forms of the two verbs here: ‘FALL FELL FALLEN’ and ‘FELL FELLED FELLED’]
8. The king reviewed the troops in the maidan.
= The troops were reviewed by the King in the maidan.
9. The legend tells us how the city received its name.
= We are told by the legend how the city received its name.
10. All desire wealth and some acquire it.
= Wealth is desired by all and acquired by some.
[When the same subject is associated with two or more verbs (Here the subject WEALTH has two verbs DESIRE and ACQUIRE), we use the helping verb only with the first one, so IS won’t again be used before the verb ACQUIRED.]
11. Alas! We shall hear her voice no more.
= Alas! Her voice will be heard no more.
OR Alas! Her voice will not be heard anymore.
[The sentence in the active voice is EXCLAMATORY, so in the passive also it will remain EXCLAMATORY as type of a sentence remains the same in both the voices.]
12. Do not insult the poor.
= Let the poor not be insulted.
Change of MODALS in the passive
If a sentence in the active voice has a modal, its passive is made by that MODAL + BE + V3.
1. Rohit must shut the door.
= The door must be shut by Rohit.
2. Rani ought to have told him.
= He ought to have been told by Rani.
3. You have to pay fifty-paise postage.
= Fifty-paise postage has to be paid by you. [HAVE TO is a modal verb.]
4. You have to type this letter immediately.
= This letter has to be typed by you immediately.
When prepositions WITH, TO, IN, AT, etc are used instead of BY with the object of the passive
A) Normally We use a preposition other than BY when the subject of the active sentence is a person and its verb is not an action, rather it tells the state of mind or feeling or a situation; e.g.
1. I know her.
=She is known to me.
2. He annoys me.
I am annoyed with him.
3. She vexes me.
= I am vexed at her.
NOTE: Verbs KNOW, ANNOY and VEX are not actions, rather they are states.
B) With certain verbs we use a preposition other than BY when the subject of the active sentence is not a person; e.g.
1. Smoke filled the room.
= The room was filled with smoke.
2. Paint covered the lock.
= The lock was covered with paint.
3. The boy’s work pleased the teacher.
= The teacher was pleased with the boy’s work.
4. His behavior annoyed me,
= I was annoyed with his behavior.
5. The book has greatly interested me.
= I have been greatly interested in this book.
NOTE: Different verbs take different prepositions. The verb ANNOY takes WITH when used for a person, and it takes AT when used for a thing. See some other verbs to know which prepositions they take:
|amazed at||decorated with||ornamented with||known to|
|astonished at||embodied in||startled at||vexed at|
|contained in||engulfed in||surprised at|
|covered with||filled with||thronged with|
|crammed with||included in||tired of|
Active verbs which are passive in sense
You can categorise verbs in two ways, one that have active meanings, means the subject is in action, like in the sentence THE PEON OPENED THE GATE. In this sentence the subject of the sentence PEON himself opens the gate, so you can say the verb OPEN here has active meaning.
Second type of verbs are passive in sense, like in the sentence THE SURFACE FEELS SMOOTH, the subject THE SURFACE is not FEELING anything, such verbs are said to have passive meaning. The passive voice of such verbs is formed like this:
1. The rose smells sweet.
=The rose is sweet when it is smelt.
2. The grapes tasted sour.
= The grapes were sour when they were tasted.
3. At least the play reads well.
= At least the play affects the readers well when it is read.
4. This book reads easily.
= This book can be read easily.
5. The house is building.
= The house is being built.
6. The meal is eating.
= The meal is being eaten.
7. The drums are beating.
= The drums are being beaten.
WHEN the subject of the active voice need not be mentioned in the passive
We normally do not need to mention the subject of the active voice while converting it into the passive voice in the following situations.
1. When the doer of the action i.e. subject of the active voice is obvious.
2. When the subject of the active voice is vague like PEOPLE, ONE, SOMEONE, THEY, WE, etc.
1. The police arrested the thief.
= The thief was arrested.
2. People suspect him of receiving stolen goods.
= He is suspected of receiving stolen goods.
3. People suppose that they are living in Delhi.
= They are supposed to be living in Delhi.
4. One sees this sort of advertisement everywhere.
= This sort of advertisement is seen everywhere.
5. Someone picked my pocket in the bus.
= My pocket was picked in the bus.
6. A Mr Rohan has bought the house next door.
= The house next door has been bought.
[When name of a person is preceded by ‘A’ it becomes vague, and therefore it’s not mentioned in the passive voice.]
7. Our state government is building a new public library.
= A new public library is being built.
8. They sell TVs here.
= TVs are sold here.
[THEY is not specific here, here THEY means shopkeepers of a particular place.]
9. They asked me my name.
= I was asked my name. OR My name was asked.
10. They opened the theatre only last month.
= The theatre was opened only last month.
11. We will execute all orders promptly.
= All orders will be executed promptly.
12. One should keep one’s promises.
= Promises should be kept.
13. We expect good news.
= Good news is expected.
14. Circumstances will oblige me to go.
= I shall be obliged to go.
15. The rules forbid passengers to cross the railway line.
= Passengers are forbidden to cross the railway line.
NOTE-I: Subjects YOU, WE, THEY can both be specific persons, or people in general. Therefore it depends on the meaning these words have in a sentence. That meaning will decide whether or not they should be used in the passive.
NOTE-II: The BY rule sometimes is not followed so rigidly. Normally when the performer of the action is not so important to mention or it’s vague, normally we do not mention the BY-PHRASE, but even if it’s mentioned in the passive it won’t be wrong. Sometimes BY phrase is necessary to say.
Read these examples:
1. Mr Prakash Gautam teaches us English = English is taught to us by Mr Prakash Gautam. (BY-PHRASE is necessary here as the subject of the active voice is clear.)
2. Someone brought me a gift. = I was brought a gift. OR I was brought a gift by someone.
From the examination point of you, it all depends on the given answer options. If both types of options are there in the passive choose BY PHRASE.
WHEN THE OBJECT HAS POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVE IN THE ACTIVE VOICE
Sometimes possessive adjective (my, our, your, his, her, their, its, one’s) of the subject is mentioned in the object of the active voice. While converting such a sentence into the passive, normally we remove that possessive adjective and replace it with the article THE, though THE sometimes is not necessary; e.g.
1. We had already taken our meals.
= The meals had already been taken by us.
2. One must do one’s duty.
= Duty must be done.
TWO OBJECTS IN THE ACTIVE VOICE
Verbs that take two objects in the active voice, can be changed into passive with either of the objects as subject of the passive. But if the object denoting a person is not made the subject of the passive, a suitable preposition like TO, FOR, etc is put before it.
1. The guard refused him admittance.
=He was refused admittance by the guard.
OR Admittance was refused to him by the guard.
2. I bought my son a pen.
= My son was bought a pen.
OR A pen was bought for my son.
3. He promised me a gift.
= I was promised a gift.
OR A gift was promised to me.
4. You could give it to me.
= I could be given it by you.
OR It could be given to me by you.
NOTE: But when the two objects are the same person we can form only one passive; that too with the person as subject only; e.g.
1. They made him king.
= He was made king.
[Here HIM and KING are representing the same person.]
2. We elected Hari captain.
=Hari was elected captain.
[Here HARI and CAPTAIN are representing the same person.]
Verb + Preposition
When VERB+PREPOSITION is there in the active, the preposition remains immediately after the verb in the passive also; e.g.
1. You can play with these cubs quite safely.
= These cubs can be played with quite safely.
2. We must write to him.
= He must be written to.
3. They threw away the old newspapers.
= The old newspapers were thrown away.
4. They looked after the children well.
= The children were well looked after.
5. They laughed at all his warnings and objected to all his proposals.
= All his warnings were laughed at and proposals objected to.
6. You can never hear of a happy millionaire.
= A happy millionaire can never be heard of.
NOTE: Some of the verbs that take a preposition with them:
look at, look after, look down upon, look into, laugh at, smile at, deride at, mock at, fire at
PASSIVE OF INTERROGATIVE SENTENCES
If the sentence in the active voice begins with a helping verb/modal, the passive sentence also begins with a helping verb/modal. If the sentence in the active voice begins with a WH family word, the passive sentence also begins with a WH family word.
1. Who did this?
= By whom was this done?
[In an interrogative sentence beginning with WHO the subject is always WHO itself. In the above sentence THIS is the object; therefore THIS will become the subject of the passive. As we need a question in the passive also, the helping verb should come before the subject and the main verb after it. So the helping verb WAS will come before THIS and the main verb DONE after.
As WHO is the subject of the active, it will become the object of the passive, the objective case of WHO is WHOM; also the preposition BY precedes the object in the passive, so it will be BY WHOM. As it’s a WH word question in the active, in passive also WH word is needed. Therefore the passive sentence will begin with BY WHOM.]
2. Whom have you invited?
= Who has been invited by you?
[In an interrogative sentence beginning with WHOM the object is always WHOM itself and the subject is always the word given between the helping verb and the main verb, means YOU is the subject of this sentence. Therefore subjective form of WHOM will become the subject of the passive. Subjective form of WHOM is WHO, so WHO will be the subject of the passive.]
3. Who teaches you Mathematics?
= By whom are you taught Mathematics? OR By whom is Mathematics taught to you?
4. Who taught you such tricks as these?
= By whom were you taught such tricks as these?
OR By whom were such tricks as these taught to you?
5. Why did your brother write such a letter?
= Why was such a letter written by your brother?
6. When will you return my camera?
=When will my camera be returned?
7. Shall I ever forget those happy days?
= Will those happy days ever be forgot/forgotten?
8. Do you understand my meaning?
= Is my meaning understood?
9. What did they stole?
= What was stolen?
10. What makes these holes?
= By what are these holes made?
11. How else would you learn it?
= How else would it be learnt by you?
[IMPORTANT: When an interrogative pronoun such as WHO, WHAT, WHICH, etc. is the subject of a sentence and it needs a preposition in the passive, we put the preposition before it, not to the end of the sentence. The preposition in such a case is often taken to the end of the sentence, but it happens only in the informal English. Therefore it’s wrong to say ‘Who are you taught by?’. The correct sentence is ‘By whom are you taught?’]
Passive of Imperative Sentences
a) Do it at once.
= You are ordered to do it at once.
= You are asked to do it at once.
= You are told to do it at once.
= Let it be done at once.
b) Bring a glass of water.
= You are ordered to bring a glass of water.
= You are asked to bring a glass of water.
= You are told to bring a glass of water.
= Let a glass of water be brought.
NOTE-I: When the active voice is in the negative, the passive voice with LET is formed in the form of:
Let + object + not + be + v3; e.g.
a) Do not beat the dog.
= Let the dog be not beaten.
= You are ordered not to beat the dog.
= You are asked not to beat the dog.
= You are told not to beat the dog.
b) Don’t touch it.
= Let it not be touched.
= You are warned not to touch it.
NOTE-II: When the object of the verb is not mentioned, we begin the passive form with YOU, not LET; e.g.
a) Work hard.
= You are advised to work hard.
b) Get out.
= You are ordered to get out.
NOTE-III: In one of the meanings both ASK and TELL = to order or instruct somebody to do something. In this meaning both of them must be followed by an object + to-infinitive. In the passive as the object becomes the subject, so it’s not used immediately after ASK or TELL.
a) Save my life, please.
= You are requested to save my life.
b) Kindly vacate the house.
= You are requested to vacate the house. [To use KINDLY REQUESTED is incorrect.]
c) Do it for me, please.
= You are requested to do it for me.
[To use KINDLY REQUESTED is incorrect.]
a) Help the needy people.
= You are advised to help the needy people. OR The needy people should be helped.
[This is advice, not an order, so you can’t use TELL, ASK, ORDER in the passive here.]
b) Love the poor.
= You are advised to love the poor. OR The poor should be loved.
c) Hate the seven deadly sins.
= The seven deadly sins should be hated.
LET in Passive
The verb LET is used for various meanings, so it has no fixed pattern while converting sentences into the passive. So we covert an active sentence having LET according to the meaning it has in that particular sentence.
The verb LET is used for the following meanings:
1. to allow/to permit
2. to suggest
3. to request
4. to wish
5. to rent an accommodation/rooms/building
a) Let him drive the car.
= Let the car be driven by him.
b) Let the dog be in.
= You are asked/requested to let the dog be in.
c) Let me go.
= I may be allowed to go.
= You are requested to let me go.
d) Let him do this work.
= Let this work be done by him.
= You are requested to let him do this work
e) Let’s finish the job. (suggestion)
= The job should be finished.
f) Let us lie for a while. (suggestion)
= It is suggested that we should lie for a while.
g) Let us beat our swords into ploughshares. (wish)
= Let all swords be beaten into ploughshares.
= May all swords be beaten into ploughshares.
[SWORDS TO PLOUGHSHARES is a concept in which military weapons or technologies are converted for peaceful civilian applications.]
h) The farmer let me live in a caravan behind his barn.
= I was permitted/allowed to live in a caravan behind his barn by the farmer.
(CARAVAN = a painted wooden vehicle that is pulled by a horse and in which people live)
i) Her Dad never lets her have ice-cream.
= She is never allowed/permitted to have ice-cream by her father.
NOTE: There is no passive form of LET; e.g.
INCORRECT: He was let go.
CORRECT: He was allowed to go.
INCORRECT: He was let to enter India as a political refugee.
CORRECT: He was allowed to enter India as a political refugee.
IT in passive
In the active voice, when verbs such as SAY, THINK, FEEL, CONSIDER, HOPE, EXPECT, etc. follow an INFINITIVE + OBJECT or a THAT-CLAUSE, we can change the active into the passive in the following ways:
CASE-I: When the verb is followed by an INFINITIVE + OBJECT
It + Passive Verb + By-phrase + That + Pronoun of the given subject + Will/would + V1.
1. Pakistan expect to win the match.
= It is expected by Pakistan that they will win the match.
= The match is expected to be won by Pakistan.
2. The Greeks expected to win the international trophy.
= It was expected by the Greeks that they would win the international trophy.
= The international trophy was expected to be won by Pakistan.
NOTE: Verbs PROPOSE, DECIDE, NEED, etc. form passives a little differently from above; e.g.
1. They propose to build a dam for irrigation.
= It is proposed that a dam should be built for irrigation.
= It is proposed that a dam be built for irrigation.
= It is proposed to build a dam for irrigation.
= A dam is proposed to be built for irrigation.
2. He decided to sell the house.
= He decided that the house be/should be sold.
= It was decided by him that the house be/should be sold.
CASE-II: When the verb is followed by a THAT-CLAUSE
It + Passive verb of the main clause + That-clauseas it is
Subject of that-clause + Passive verb of the main clause + To-infinitive of the verb of that-clause + Given object/adjective
1. People consider that Mohan is a fool.
= It is considered that Mohan is a fool.
= Mohan is considered to be a fool.
2. People said that he was jealous of her.
= It was said that he was jealous of her.
= He was said to be jealous of her.
3. People say he is handsome.
= It is said that he is handsome.
= He is said to be handsome.
4. They know he has an idea.
= It is known that he has an idea.
= He is known to have an idea.
5. They think that I am dying.
= It is thought that I am dying.
= I am thought to be dying.
6. People felt that the social workers were doing valuable work.
= It was felt that the social workers were doing valuable work.
= The social workers were felt to be doing valuable work.
7. They report that she came back/has come back.
= It is reported that she came back/has come back.
= She is reported to have come back.
8. Everyone thought that the Government had shown very little regard for public opinion.
= It was thought that the Government had shown very little regard for public opinion.
= The Government was thought to have shown very little regard for public opinion.
9. They say that she will resign.
= It is said that she will resign.
= She is said to be going to resign.
10. The public will learn with astonishment that war is imminent.
= It will be learned/learnt with astonishment that war is imminent.
= War will be learned/learnt to be imminent with astonishment.
NOTE-I: Clauses after the verbs SAY and KNOW in sentences 3 and 4 are actually THAT- CLAUSES as THAT after these verbs can always be omitted. So both of these sentences are exactly equivalent:
1. People say he is handsome.
2. People say that he is handsome.
NOTE-II: Main problem we face in such a structure is that when we should use the present infinitive (TO + V1), when we should use the perfect infinitive (TO + HAVE + V3).
If the time reference of the verb in the THAT-CLAUSE and the MAIN-CLAUSE is the same we use the present infinitive, and if the time reference of the verb in the THAT-CLAUSE is of an earlier time than the time reference of the verb of the MAIN-CLAUSE we use the perfect infinitive; e.g.
1. They say that that he knows Katrina Kaif.
= He is said to know Katrina Kaif.
2. They said that he knew Katrina Kaif.
= He was said to know Katrina Kaif.
[In sentence 1 above the verb of the THAT-CLAUSE is KNOWS and the verb of the main clause is SAY. We see that the time reference of both these verbs is the same, so we’ve used the present infinitive (TO KNOW) here.
In sentence 2 the verb of the THAT-CLAUSE is KNEW and verb of the MAIN-CLAUSE is SAID. We see the time reference of both these verbs is the same, so again we’ve used the present infinitive (TO KNOW).]
3. They think that he acted foolishly.
= He is thought to have acted foolishly.
4. They thought that he had acted foolishly.
= He was thought to have acted foolishly.
[In sentence 3 above the verb of the THAT-CLAUSE is ACTED and the verb of the main clause is THINK. We see that the time reference of both these verbs is different, so we’ve used the perfect infinitive (TO HAVE ACTED) here.
In sentence 4 the verb of the THAT-CLAUSE is HAD ACTED and verb of the MAIN-CLAUSE is THOUGHT. We see the time reference of both these verbs is different, so again we’ve used the perfect infinitive (TO HAVE ACTED).]
CASE-III: When the verb EXPECT is followed by an ‘Object + Infinitive + Object’ we form passive in the following way:
IT + Passive verb + Of + Given object + Given infinitive phrase’
I expected him to give us financial aid.
= It was expected of him to give us financial aid.
NOTE: In such a case we can also add the BY PHRASE to this construction; e.g.
I expected him to give us financial aid.
= It was expected of him to give us financial aid.
= It was expected of him by me to give us financial aid.
IT IS TIME
Active sentences beginning with ‘IT IS TIME’ are converted into passive by ‘It is time + For + Noun/Pronoun + To be + V3; e.g.
1. It is time to close the shop.
= It is time for the shop to be closed.
2. It is time to give the final warning.
= It is time for the final warning to be given.
THERE + BE
Active sentences beginning with ‘THERE + BE’ are converted into passive by ‘There + Be + Noun/Pronoun + To be + V3’, e.g.
1. There are five letters to write.
= There are five letters to be written.
2. There is no time to lose.
= There is no time to be lost.
INFINITIVE (TO + V1) RULES
1. Subject + Verb + Infinitive + Object
In this construction the object of the infinitive in the active voice is taken as the subject of the sentence in the passive and the verb of the active remains to be the same, only infinitive is made into passive; e.g.
a) His colleagues started to respect Hari.
= Hari started to be respected by his colleagues.
b) People came to recognize her as the leading actress soon.
= She came to be recognized as the leading actress soon.
c) He is to do it.
= It is to be done by him.
d) Someone seems to have made a mistake.
= A mistake SEEMS to have been made by someone.
e) I’m going to bring him here.
= He is going to be brought here by me.
NOTE: PASSIVE OF SUCH INTERROGATIVE SENTENCES
a) Why did your father refuse to give the money to you?
= Why was the money refused to be given to you by your father?
b) Why did the team captain hoped to select Jadeja?
= Why did Jadeja hoped to be selected by the team captain?
WARNING: If the subject of the passive is not a person we use IS/WAS after the question word (See sentence 1.). And if the subject of the passive is a person we use DO/DID after the question word (See sentence 2.).
2. Subject + verb + Object + Infinitive + Object
In this structure they are verbs of LIKING, LOVING, WANTING, WISHING, etc. When sentences of this structure are converted into the passive, we retain the subject and the verb of the active as it is, and the infinitive is converted into the passive. But we have to take care here that if the subject of the sentence and object of the infinitive are different we also place that object after the verb; e.g.
a) He doesn’t like people to call him a cheat.
= He doesn’t like to be called a cheat.
[See the subject of the sentence (HE) and object of the infinitive (HIM) are referring to the same person]
b) He wants someone to take photographs.
= He wants photographs to be taken.
[See the subject of the sentence (HE) and object of the infinitive (PHOTOGRAPHS) are different.]
3. Subject + Verb + Object + Infinitive
In this structure they are verbs of COMMAND, REQUEST, ADVICE, INVITATION, etc. When sentences of this structure are converted into the passive, the object of the verb is taken as the subject of the passive sentence and the verb is converted into the passive. The infinitive is kept as it is; e.g.
a) He invited me to go.
=I was invited to go.
b) Mr Rajat taught Rohit to sing.
= Rohit was taught to sing.
c) My boss gave me a journal to read.
= I was given a journal to read by my boss.
= A journal was given to me to read by my boss.
4. Advise/Beg/Order/Recommend/Urge + Object + Infinitive + Object
The above structure form its passive in the following two ways:
a) Object of the Verb + Passive Verb + Infinitive + Object of the Infinitive
b) Subject + Verb + That + Object of the Infinitive + Should + Passive Infinitive without TO
He urged the employers to increase the salary.
= The employers were urged to increase the salary.
OR He urged that the salary should be increased.
5. Agree/Be anxious/Be determined/Determine/Demand + Infinitive + Object
The above structure is usually expressed in the passive by ‘Verb + That-Should + Passive Infinitive’; e.g.
They demanded to withdraw all troops.
= They demanded that all troops should be withdrawn.
6. If the subject of the sentence is the person who has to do the action, the active infinitive is used; e.g.
INCORRECT: I have work to be done.
CORRECT: I have work to do.
INCORRECT: I have two shirts to be washed.
CORRECT: I have two shirts to wash.
NOTE-I: But if the action is not to be done by the subject, we use that infinitive in the passive; e.g.
INCORRECT: Mahatma Gandhi was a man to admire. CORRECT: Mahatma Gandhi was a man to be admired.
NOTE-II: Similarly, if the subject of the sentence is such a noun/pronoun that is not doing the action, rather the action is performed on it, we use the infinitive in the passive also; e.g.
INCORRECT: These sheets are to wash.
CORRECT: These sheets are to be washed.
INCORRECT: The letter is to post.
CORRECT: The letter is to be posted.
7. Infinitives in the Passive
Infinitives in the passive are normally ‘To-infinitives’, but after the verb LET, use of infinitive is without TO. Remember some verbs such as SEE, MAKE, LET take bare infinitive (infinitive without TO) in the active voice; but except LET every other verb in the passive also takes TO- INFINITIVE; e.g.
a) We saw them go out.
= They were seen to go out.
b) He made us work.
= We were made to work.
c) They let us go.
= We were let go.
1. (Sub + Verb + Obj + Gerund) or (Sub + Verb + Obj + Gerund + Obj)
This expression is converted into the passive by ‘Obj of verb + Passive Verb + Gerund + Obj of Gerund’
a) They saw him climbing over the fence.
= He was seen climbing over the fence.
b) I saw him opening the box.
= He was seen opening the box.
2. Sub + Verbs + Obj + Gerund + Obj + To
‘Verbs + Object + Gerund + Object’ is expressed in the passive by ‘Subject + Verb + Passive Gerund’
I remember them taking me to the zoo.
= I remember being taken to the zoo.
3. Sub + Verb + Gerund + Obj
‘Verb + Gerund + Object’ is expressed in the passive by ‘Subject + Verb + Object + Passive Gerund’
I enjoyed taking the children to the garden.
= I enjoyed the children being taken to the garden.
4. Advise/Insist/Propose/Recommend/Suggest + Gerund + Obj ‘Advise/Insist/Propose/Recommend/Suggest
+ Gerund + Object’ is usually expressed in the passive by ‘THAT — SHOULD’
He recommended using bullet-proof glass.
= He recommended that bullet-proof glass should be used.
5. It/They + Need + Gerund
‘It/They + Need + Gerund’ can be expressed by ‘It/They + Need + Passive Infinitive’
It needs washing.
=It needs to be washed.
‘SUPPOSE’ in the passive
SUPPOSE in the passive if followed by the present infinitive of (TO + V1), may convey an idea of duty; or convey an expectation/belief about something. And is not therefore the normal equivalent of SUPPOSE in the active. So, we can form actives of such a construction in any of the following ways unless we know the exact reasons.
1. You are supposed to know how to drive.
= It is your duty to know how to drive. OR You should know how to drive. (idea of duty)
= People believe you know how to drive. (belief)
2. You are supposed to have finished your homework by now.
= You should have finished your homework by now. (idea of duty)
= We believe you have finished your homework. (belief)
3. He is supposed to have escaped disguised as a woman. (belief)
= People suppose/believe that he has escaped disguised as a woman.
4. You are supposed to be working.
= You should be working.
5. You are supposed to have been working.
= You should have been working.
PASSIVE TO ACTIVE
1. The telephone lines have been cut.
= Someone has cut the telephone lines.
2. The 1972 Asian Games were held in Delhi, India.
= They held the 1972 Asian Games in Delhi, India.
3. Without effort nothing can be gained.
= Without effort one/we/you can gain nothing.
OR Without effort one/we/you cannot gain anything.
4. Why should I be suspected by you?
= Why should you suspect me?
5. The information is kept on our computer.
= We keep the information on our computer.
6. My purse was lost.
= I lost my purse.
7. He was refused admittance.
= They refused him admittance.
8. Our army has been defeated.
= The enemy has defeated our army.
9. It is said that the thief stole several wallets.
= They say that the thief stole several wallets.
10. The pigeons are said to carry a lot of diseases.
= People think that the pigeons carry a lot of diseases.
TYPICAL QUESTIONS ON VOICES
1. We admire the brave.
= The brave are admired.
2. You must endure what you cannot cure.
= What cannot be cured must be endured.
3. He will be greatly surprised if he is chosen.
= He will be greatly surprised if they choose him.
4. The ship was set on fire and abandoned by the crew.
= The crew set the ship on fire and abandoned it.
5. I feel people have taken advantage of me.
= I feel I have been taken advantage of.
6. In future, they won’t bring letters to the house, and we shall have to collect them from the post office.
= In future, letters won’t be brought to the house, and they will have to be collected from the
7. We kill and injure many people on the road every day. Can’t we do something about this?
= Many people are killed and injured on the road every day. Can’t something be done about this?
8. We need not type this letter.
= This letter need not be typed.
9. Nobody has used this room for ages.
= This room has not been used for ages.
10. You are supposed to obey him.
= It is your duty to obey him.
11. Get someone to mend it.
= Have it mended.
12. I’m employing a man to tile the bathroom.
= I’m having the bathroom tiled.
13. It’s a little too loose; you had better ask your tailor to take it in.
= It’s a little too loose; you had better have it taken in.
OR It’s a little too loose; your tailor had better been asked to take it in.
14. He likes people to call him ‘sir’.
= He likes to be called ‘sir’.
15. You will have to get someone to see to it.
= You will have to have it to be seen to. OR You will have to get it to be seen to. OR It will have to be seen to.
16. You have to see it to believe it.
= It has to be seen to be believed.
17. You order me about and I am tired of it.
= I am tired of being ordered about.
18. We don’t allow smoking.
= Smoking is not allowed.
19. No one can do anything unless someone gives us accurate information.
= Nothing can be done unless we are given accurate information.
20. He wants that he should be treated as king.
= He wants to be treated as king.
21. May she live long!
= It is prayed that she lives long!
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