Active and Passive Voice: Definition, Examples, Rules of English Grammar

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Understanding the concept of active and passive voice is crucial for aspirants preparing for any SSC exam. It is one of the basic concepts of English grammar. Therefore, it is important to build command over active and passive voice rules.

In this article, we have provided you with English Grammar notes on active and passive voice for SSC CGL 2023 Exam. In addition to that you can also download active and passive voice for the SSC CGL PDF which includes all the important questions asked from this concept in the previous shifts of the SSC CGL exam. Aspirants preparing for SSC CHSL, MTS etc, must revise these rules before taking exams. 

Active and Passive Voice

The connection between the subject and the verb of a statement determines whether the voice is active or passive. Active voice refers to the subject who acts, whereas passive voice refers to the subject who is the recipient of the action. Using active voice often improves clarity, while passive voice can help avoid unnecessary repetition. Active voice can help ensure clarity by making it clear to the reader who is taking action in the sentence. In addition, the active voice stresses that the actor (or grammatical subject) precedes the verb, again, putting emphasis on the subject. Passive voice construction leaves out the actor (subject) and focuses on the relationship between the verb and the object. The order of words in a sentence with an active voice is subject, verb, and object.

Active voice example: I conducted a study of elementary school teachers. This sentence structure puts the emphasis of the sentence on the subject, clarifying who conducted the study.

Passive voice example: A study was conducted on elementary school teachers. In this sentence, it is not clear who conducted this study.

Active and Passive Voice for SSC CGL

In the SSC CGL exam, English is part of Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the SSC CGL Syllabus. SSC Active and Passive voices come under the grammar section and questions that are asked from this section possess a higher difficulty level. In the SSC CGL Tier 1 exam, out of the 25 questions, around 2-3 Active and Passive Voice questions are asked, and in the Tier 2 exam question weightage increases. The weightage of Active and Passive Voice in the SSC CGL tier 2 exam is around 5-8 questions out of the total 45 questions.

Active and Passive Voice Rules

It is pertinent to learn the usage of the active-passive voice rules based on the tenses. In this section, we will learn English grammar rules that should be followed while converting active voice to passive voice and vice versa. In the SSC exams, candidates are always given questions for converting, identifying and correcting the format of one voice to the other. Let us check them one by one.

Active: They will do the work

Passive: The work will be done by them.

  • When the person doing the action is the subject, we use an Active verb. But when the subject is what the action is pointed at, we use a passive verb.

As in the above example, an ACTIVE sentence is one where the person (THEY) is also the subject of the sentence.

While a PASSIVE sentence is one, where the subject is the action showing word (WORK).

NOTE: However, sentences only with transitive verbs (verb with object) can be changed into PASSIVE VOICE.

For Example,

Active: The man is running.

Passive: Not Possible as the object after the verb (Running) is missing.

To Recognize the Active & Passive Sentences easily ask these questions.

  • What is the action/verb in this sentence?
  • What/who is the subject of this sentence?
  • Is the subject of the sentence PERFORMING the action/verb?

If the answer to the last question is YES, then the sentence is in the ACTIVE voice. If the answer to the last question is NO, then the sentence is in the PASSIVE voice.

General Form:



NOTE: Sometimes while converting a sentence from Passive Voice to Active Voice, the subject is missing.

For Example,

Passive: The room was cleaned.

Active: Someone cleaned the room.

“BY SOMEONE” is missing from the Passive Sentence.

Conversion of Active to Passive Sentences in Different Tenses

As you know there are three tenses in English Grammer and there are 4 subtypes of each tense. There are different rules to be followed while converting one voice into the other based on the tenses used and their application. Let us check how we can convert Active to Passive Sentences in different tenses

  1. Present Simple Tense

Passive Voice: Object + is/am/are + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject

Active voice: He sings a song.

  • He does not sing a song.
  • Does he sing a song?

Passive voice: A song is sung by him.

  • A song is not sung by him.
  • Is a song sung by him?
  1. Past Simple Tense

Passive voice: Object + was/were + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject

Active voice: I killed a snake

  • I did not kill a snake.
  • Did I kill a snake?

Passive voice:

  • A snake was killed by me.
  • A snake was not killed by me.
  • Was a snake killed by me?
  1. Future Simple Tense

Passive Voice: Object + will/shall + be + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject

Active voice:

  • She will buy a car.
  • She will not buy a car.
  • Will she buy a car?

Passive voice:

  • A car will be bought by her.
  • A car will not be bought by her.
  • Will a car be bought by her?
  1. Present Continuous Tense

Passive Voice: Object + is/am/are + being + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject

Active voice:

  • I am writing a letter
  • I am not writing a letter.
  • Am I writing a letter?

Passive voice:

  • A letter is being written by me.
  • A letter is not being written by me.
  • Is a letter being written by me?
  1. Past Continuous Tense

Passive Voice: Object + was/were + being + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject

Active voice:

  • He was driving a car.
  • He was not driving a car.
  • Was he driving a car?

Passive voice:

  • A car was being driven by him.
  • A car was not being driven by him.
  • Was a car being driven by him?
  1. Present Perfect Tense

Passive voice: Object + has/have + been + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject

Active voice:

  • She has finished her work
  • She has not finished her work.
  • Has she finished her work?

Passive voice:

  • Her work has been finished by her.
  • Her work has not been finished by her.
  • Has her work been finished by her?
  1. Past Perfect Tense

Passive Voice: Object + had + been + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject

Active voice:

  • They had completed the assignment.
  • They had not completed the assignment.
  • Had they completed the assignment?

Passive voice:

  • The assignment had been completed by them.
  • The assignment had not been completed by them.
  • Had the assignment been completed by them?
  1. Future Perfect Tense

Passive Voice: Object + shall/will + have + been + Verb (3rd form) + by + Subject

Active voice:

  • You will have started the job.
  • You will have not started the job.
  • Will you have started the job?

Passive voice:

  • The job will have been started by you.
  • The job will not have been started by you.
  • Will the job have been started by you?

Active and Passive Voice Examples with Answers

Now that we have learned important Active Passive Voice Rules, we are providing you with some examples of each of the voices to know their right application in any sentence. Along with that we have also included an explanation for each example.

Future continuous & perfect continuous tenses do not form passive voice.

Some verbs cannot be passive like be, belong, exist, lack, resemble, seem, suit, and have (= own).

For example:

Tom has a guitar.

The building seemed empty.

Certain verb takes fixed preposition after them that replaces the “by”. Such verbs are – known to, surprised at/by, amazed at, astonished at, vexed at, annoyed with/at, contained in, decorated with, filled with, tired of, engulfed in. etc.

For example:

Active: The fire engulfed the building.

Passive: The building was engulfed in fire.

Some verbs have two objects like give, send offer award, etc. The sentence having these words has two possible passive forms.

For example:

Active: He gave mea book.

Passive 1: I was given a book by him.

Passive 2: A book was given to me by him.

Active and Passive Voice for SSC CGL PDF

Now that you gained complete knowledge of the usage of the active and passive voice for SSC CGL and also learned important rules related to them, it is time to practice some questions based on this concept. We have compiled important questions on active and passive voice which have been asked in SSC CGL previous years papers in a pdf. These questions will be helpful in acquiring insight into the difficulty level. Download Active and Passive Voice for SSC CGL PDF from the link given below

Active and Passive Voice for SSC CGL PDF

SSC active and passive voice concepts might seem tricky to the candidates who have just started preparing for SSC Exams 2023. Hence, they are advised to practice active and passive voice questions to ensure that they do not lose marks on this concept.


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