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Using Verbs in Passive Voice | The Ultimate Guide

using verbs in passive

Using Verbs in Passive Voice

Here is an outline for “Using Verbs in Passive Voice: The Ultimate Guide“; we will learn in this ultimate guide for using verbs in Passive Voice.

Introduction to Passive Voice

  • Explanation of what passive voice is
  • Importance of understanding and using passive voice correctly
  • The reasons behind our utilization of the passive voice in communication
  • Overview of the guide

What is Passive Voice?

  • Definition and explanation of passive voice
  • Examples of common uses of passive voice in English
  • Key features of passive voice

Formation of Passive Voice

  • Explanation of how to form passive voice
  • Examples of how to use different tenses in passive voice
  • Passive voice with different types of verbs

Using Passive Voice in Sentences 

  • Tips and techniques for using passive voice effectively
  • Explanation of how the use of passive voice can affect the meaning of a sentence
  • Examples of how the same sentence can be constructed with different voices

Common Errors and Pitfalls to Avoid 

  • Explanation of common errors and pitfalls when using passive voice
  • Tips and techniques for avoiding these errors

Review of using verbs in Passive Voice

  • Summary of the key points covered in the guide
  • Final thoughts on the importance of using passive voice correctly

References

  • List of sources used in the guide, including online internet links if applicable

Introduction to Passive Voice

Explanation of what passive voice

Passive voice is a grammatical construction in which the subject of the sentence is acted upon, rather than performing the action. This means that the object of the verb becomes the subject of the sentence, and the subject of the sentence either disappears or appears in a prepositional phrase.

Importance of understanding and using passive voice correctly

Understanding and using passive voice correctly is crucial for effective communication in writing and speaking. It can be used to emphasize the object of the sentence or to avoid assigning blame or responsibility to a specific person or group. However, it can also make sentences more wordy and less clear if used excessively or incorrectly.

The reasons behind our utilization of the passive voice in communication

There exist various motives for employing the passive voice in both verbal and written expression. Here are a few common rationales:

To highlight the action or the recipient of the action: The passive voice allows us to shift the focus of a sentence from the doer of the action to the action itself or the receiver of the action.

For instance,

    • “The implementation of the new policy was well-received by the employees” (focus on the implementation of the policy).
    • “The project was completed by the team ahead of schedule” (focus on the completion of the project).

When the doer of the action is unknown or unimportant: The passive voice can be employed when the performer of the action is either unknown or unimportant.

For example,

    • “The documents were misplaced” (it is unknown who misplaced the documents).
    • “The decision was made to proceed with the plan” (the identity of the decision-maker is not relevant).

To convey a formal or objective tone: The passive voice can be used to lend a formal or objective tone to writing.

For instance,

    • “It has been noted that…” (conveys formality and objectivity rather than “We have noted that…”).
    • “The research findings were analyzed and interpreted” (a formal tone is maintained).

To avoid assigning blame or responsibility: The passive voice can help in evading direct assignment of blame or responsibility for an action.

For example,

    • “Mistakes were discovered” (does not specify who discovered the mistakes).
    • “The package was misdelivered” (no blame is placed on any specific individual).

Overview of the guide

This guide will cover the basics of passive voice, including its formation and usage, as well as common mistakes and how to avoid them. It will also provide examples and exercises to help readers practice using passive voice effectively.

Explore about:  Active and Passive Voice Example |Rules |Exercises

What is Passive Voice?

Definition and explanation of passive voice

Passive voice is a grammatical construction where the subject of a sentence is not the one performing the action. Instead, the action is performed upon the subject. In other words, the focus is on what happens to the subject rather than who is doing the action.

Examples of common uses of passive voice in English

Passive voice is commonly used in English for various reasons, such as to emphasize the action, to downplay the doer of the action, to avoid specifying the doer of the action, or to maintain objectivity. Some examples of common uses of passive voice are:

  • The cake was baked by my grandmother. (Emphasizing the action)
  • The letter was written by John. (Downplaying the doer of the action)
  • The car was stolen last night. (Avoiding specifying the doer of the action)
  • The experiment was conducted by the research team. (Maintaining objectivity)

Key features of passive voice

  • The subject of the sentence is the receiver of the action, not the performer.
  • The verb is usually in the past participle form, and the auxiliary verb “to be” is often used.
  • The doer of the action may or may not be specified, and if specified, it is usually introduced with the preposition “by“.

 

Formation of Passive Voice

The passive voice is a grammatical construction where the subject of a sentence is the recipient of an action rather than the doer of the action. While the passive voice can be formed in various tenses, some tenses are less commonly used or not used at all in the passive voice. Here’s an explanation of why this is the case:

Present Perfect Continuous

This tense describes an ongoing action that started in the past and is still continuing in the present. The passive voice is not commonly used with this tense because it can be challenging to express the continuous nature of the action when the subject is the recipient.

For example, it is more straightforward to say “She has been studying” rather than “She has been being studied.”

Past Perfect Continuous

This tense refers to a continuous action that started in the past and continued up until another point in the past. Like the present perfect continuous, it can be difficult to convey the continuous aspect of the action in the passive voice.

For instance, it is more natural to say “They had been playing” instead of “They had been being played.”

Future Continuous

This tense indicates an action that will be happening at a particular point in the future. The passive voice is not commonly used with this tense because it can be challenging to express the future continuous nature of the action when the subject is the recipient.

For example, it is more common to say “The team will be practicing” rather than “The team will be being practiced.”

Future Perfect Continuous

This tense refers to a continuous action that will have started in the past and will continue up until a certain point in the future. Similar to the other continuous tenses, expressing the continuous aspect in the passive voice can be awkward.

For instance, it is more natural to say “He will have been working” instead of “He will have been being worked.”

However, due to the complexities in expressing the continuous aspect of the action or the awkwardness in the phrasing, alternative ways of expressing the same idea are generally preferred.

Explanation of how to form passive voice

In passive voice, the subject of the sentence is not the doer of the action but the receiver of the action. The structure of passive voice sentences is:

Sentence Structure

object of the active voice sentence + auxiliary verb (be) + past participle verb + by + the doer of the action (optional).

For example:

Active voice: John built a house. Passive Voice: A house was built by John.

Examples of how to use different tenses in passive voice

To form the passive voice in different tenses, the auxiliary verb ‘be’ must be conjugated in the appropriate tense.

For example:

Active Voice (present simple): They deliver the mail.

Passive Voice (present simple): The mail is delivered.

Active Voice (past simple): The company hired a new employee.

Passive Voice (past simple): A new employee was hired by the company.

Active Voice (present continuous): The chef is cooking the meal.

Passive Voice (present continuous): The meal is being cooked by the chef.

Active Voice (present perfect): She has written a book.

Passive Voice (present perfect): A book has been written by her.

Passive voice with different types of verbs

Passive voice can be used with both transitive and intransitive verbs. Transitive verbs are verbs that have a direct object, while intransitive verbs do not have a direct object.

For example:

Active Voice (transitive verb): They are selling the car.

Passive Voice (transitive verb): The car is being sold.

Active Voice (intransitive verb): The flowers are blooming.

Passive Voice (intransitive verb): The flowers are being admired.

Intransitive verbs do not have a direct object, so they cannot be made passive. Some examples of intransitive verbs include: Arrive, Be, Come, Go, Happen, Lie, Rise, Run, Seem etc.

When an intransitive verb is used in a sentence, the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb.

For example,

in the sentence “The train arrived on time,” the subject of the sentence is “train” and the verb is “arrive.” The train is performing the action of arriving.

When an intransitive verb is used in the passive voice, the subject of the sentence receives the action of the verb. However, this is not possible with intransitive verbs because they do not have a direct object.

For example,

the sentence “The train was arrived on time” is not grammatically correct because the verb “arrive” is intransitive.

There are some exceptions to this rule.

For example,

the verb “happen” can be used in the passive voice when it means “to come about by chance.”

For example,

the sentence “It happened that I was late for work” is grammatically correct.

using verbs in passive

Some verbs included a sentence using each verb in the passive voice:

  • Achieved – The goal was achieved.
  • Added – The numbers were added together.
  • Advanced – The technology was advanced by the scientists.
  • Advised – The students were advised by the teacher.
  • Allowed – The children were allowed to play outside.
  • Answered – The question was answered by the student.
  • Announced – The new product was announced by the company.
  • Appointed – The new manager was appointed by the board of directors.
  • Arrived – The train arrived on time.
  • Asked – The question was asked by the teacher.
  • Attacked – The city was attacked by the enemy.
  • Attended – The meeting was attended by many people.
  • Attracted – The attention of the audience was attracted by the speaker.
  • Authorized – The project was authorized by the board of directors.
  • Awarded – The prize was awarded to the winner.
  • Built – The house was built by the construction workers.
  • Called – The meeting was called to order by the chairperson.
  • Cared – The patient was cared for by the nurses.
  • Caused – The accident was caused by the driver’s negligence.
  • Changed – The plans were changed at the last minute.
  • Choose – The winner was chosen by the judges.
  • Cleared – The table was cleared by the waiter.
  • Collected – The garbage was collected by the sanitation workers.
  • Completed – The project was completed on time.
  • Conducted – The experiment was conducted by the scientist.
  • Considered – The proposal was considered by the committee.
  • Continued – The work continued for several hours.
  • Controlled – The situation was controlled by the police.
  • Created – The painting was created by the artist.
  • Decided – The decision was decided by the group.
  • Decided – The decision was decided by the group.
  • Delivered – The package was delivered by the mailman.
  • Described – The painting was described by the art critic.
  • Designed – The building was designed by the architect.
  • Developed – The software was developed by the team of engineers.
  • Discovered – The new planet was discovered by the astronomers.
  • Dominated – The team was dominated by the star player.
  • Drained – The swamp was drained by the construction workers.
  • Drawn – The picture was drawn by the artist.
  • Driven – The car was driven by the driver.
  • Earned – The money was earned by the hard work of the employees.
  • Edited – The article was edited by the editor.
  • Emboldened – The soldiers were emboldened by the words of their leader.
  • Endangered – The species was endangered by the destruction of its habitat.
  • Enforced – The law was enforced by the police.
  • Enjoyed – The party was enjoyed by everyone.
  • Enrolled – The students were enrolled in the program.
  • Escaped – The prisoner escaped from jail.
  • Excited – The crowd was excited by the performance of the band.
  • Exhausted – The hikers were exhausted after the long hike.
  • Explained – The problem was explained by the teacher.
  • Explored – The new territory was explored by the explorers.
  • Expressed – The feelings were expressed by the artist through her paintings.
  • Extended – The deadline was extended by the professor.
  • Exterminated – The pests were exterminated by the exterminators.
  • Failed – The test was failed by many students.
  • Finished – The project was finished on time.
  • Found – The lost dog was found by the search party.
  • Freed – The prisoners were freed by the rebels.
  • Fulfilled – The promise was fulfilled by the company.
  • Faced – The challenge was faced by the team.
  • Failed – The test was failed by many students.
  • Finished – The project was finished on time.
  • Found – The lost dog was found by the search party.
  • Freed – The prisoners were freed by the rebels.
  • Fulfilled – The promise was fulfilled by the company.
  • Furnished – The apartment was furnished by the landlord.
  • Gathered – The information was gathered by the researchers.
  • Given – The gift was given to the charity.
  • Guarded – The prisoner was guarded by the guards.
  • Handled – The situation was handled by the police.
  • Helped – The old lady was helped across the street by the children.
  • Hidden – The treasure was hidden by the pirates.
  • Hid – The children hid from the rain under the umbrella.
  • Hold – The meeting was held by the president.
  • Hosted – The party was hosted by the couple.
  • Hunted – The bear was hunted by the hunters.
  • Identified – The suspect was identified by the police.
  • Ignored – The warning was ignored by the hikers.
  • Imagined – The future was imagined by the children.
  • Informed – The students were informed by the teacher.
  • Insured – The house was insured against fire.
  • Intended – The trip was intended to be a relaxing vacation.
  • Investigated – The crime was investigated by the police.
  • Issued – The statement was issued by the company.
  • Joined – The club was joined by many new members.
  • Judged – The competition was judged by a panel of experts.
  • Justified – The decision was justified by the evidence.
  • Labeled – The products were labeled with their prices.
  • Launched – The new product was launched by the company.
  • Laid – The table was laid for dinner.
  • Learned – The lesson was learned by the students.
  • Left – The house was left empty by the family.
  • Lifted – The heavy object was lifted by the team of workers.
  • Listened – The story was listened to by the children.
  • Locked – The door was locked by the security guard.
  • Lost – The keys were lost by the careless person.
  • Made – The cake was made by the baker.
  • Maintained – The building was maintained by the staff.
  • Managed – The company was managed by the CEO.
  • Marked – The exam papers were marked by the teachers.
  • Measured – The distance was measured by the surveyor.
  • Met – The challenge was met by the team.
  • Moved – The furniture was moved by the movers.
  • Named – The new baby was named by the parents.
  • Opened – The door was opened by the person who knocked.
  • Ordered – The food was ordered by the customer.
  • Overcome – The obstacle was overcome by the athlete.
  • Passed – The test was passed by the student.
  • Performed – The play was performed by the actors.
  • Planned – The trip was planned by the family.
  • Played – The game was played by the children.
  • Pledged – The donation was pledged by the company.
  • Pointed – The finger was pointed at the suspect.
  • Prepared – The meal was prepared by the chef.
  • Proved – The theory was proved by the scientist.
  • Published – The book was published by the publisher.
  • Reached – The goal was reached by the team.
  • Received – The gift was received by the recipient.
  • Recognized – The achievement was recognized by the community.
  • Rearranged – The furniture was rearranged by the movers.
  • Recorded – The interview was recorded by the journalist.
  • Redressed – The wound was redressed by the nurse.
  • Referred – The matter was referred to the committee.
  • Regained – The lost ground was regained by the team.
  • Released – The prisoner was released from jail.
  • Remembered – The event was remembered by the people who were there.
  • Reported – The crime was reported to the police.
  • Replaced – The old car was replaced by a new one.
  • Repaired – The damage was repaired by the contractor.
  • Represented – The country was represented by its ambassador.
  • Researched – The topic was researched by the students.
  • Rescued – The people were rescued from the burning building by the firefighters.
  • Respected – The elders were respected by the younger generation.
  • Revealed – The secret was revealed by the person who knew it.
  • Rewarded – The employee was rewarded for his good work.
  • Ridden – The horse was ridden by the cowboy.
  • Righted – The wrong was righted by the person who caused it.
  • Robbed – The bank was robbed by the criminals.
  • Run – The race was run by the runners.
  • Saved – The people were saved from the fire by the firefighters.
  • Searched – The house was searched by the police for the missing person.
  • Secured – The building was secured by the guards.
  • Selected – The candidate was selected for the job.
  • Served – The food was served to the customers by the waiter.
  • Shared – The information was shared with the group.
  • Shown – The movie was shown to the audience.
  • Signed – The contract was signed by the two parties.
  • Solved – The problem was solved by the team of scientists.
  • Stopped – The car was stopped by the police.
  • Saved – The people were saved from the fire by the firefighters.
  • Searched – The house was searched by the police for the missing person.
  • Secured – The building was secured by the guards.
  • Selected – The candidate was selected for the job.
  • Served – The food was served to the customers by the waiter.
  • Shared – The information was shared with the group.
  • Shown – The movie was shown to the audience.
  • Signed – The contract was signed by the two parties.
  • Solved – The problem was solved by the team of scientists.
  • Stopped – The car was stopped by the police.
  • Scanned – The document was scanned by the machine.
  • Saved – The file was saved to the computer.
  • Sent – The email was sent to the recipient.
  • Signed – The letter was signed by the sender.
  • Started – The car was started by the driver.
  • Stolen – The car was stolen from the parking lot.
  • Studied – The book was studied by the students.
  • Submitted – The homework was submitted to the teacher.
  • Surrounded – The city was surrounded by the enemy army.
  • Switched – The lights were switched off by the person who left the room.
  • Taken – The picture was taken by the photographer.
  • Tasted – The food was tasted by the chef.
  • Tested – The product was tested by the scientists.
  • Thought – The idea was thought of by the inventor.
  • Told – The story was told to the children by the grandmother.
  • Touched – The painting was touched by the visitor.
  • Trained – The dog was trained by the owner.
  • Transferred – The money was transferred to the new account.
  • Traveled – The journey was traveled by the tourists.
  • Used – The car was used by the family.

In general, it is best to avoid using intransitive verbs in the passive voice. If you are unsure whether or not a verb can be used in the passive voice, you can consult a grammar guide.

Using Passive Voice in Sentences

In this section, we will explore how to use passive voice effectively in sentences.

Tips and techniques for using passive voice effectively

  • Use passive voice when the subject is unknown or unimportant.
  • Use passive voice when the focus is on the action or the object of the action rather than the doer of the action.
  • Use passive voice when you want to be tactful or avoid assigning blame.
  • Use passive voice sparingly and only when it enhances clarity or style.

Explanation of how the use of passive voice can affect the meaning of a sentence

Using passive voice can change the emphasis and focus of a sentence. In active voice, the subject performs the action, whereas in passive voice, the subject receives the action. Passive voice can be used to shift the focus to the object or action, rather than the person or thing performing the action.

Examples of how the same sentence can be constructed with different voices

Active voice: The chef cooked the meal.

Passive voice: The meal was cooked by the chef.

Active voice: The teacher graded the papers.

Passive voice: The papers were graded by the teacher.

Active voice: The company hired a new employee.

Passive voice: A new employee was hired by the company.

Common Errors and Pitfalls to Avoid in using passive voice

Please let me know if you need further clarification or explanation on any of these points.

Explanation of common errors and pitfalls when using passive voice

  1. Overuse of passive voice: One of the most common errors in writing is the overuse of passive voice. Passive voice can make your writing sound weak and indirect. It can also make it difficult to identify the actor or cause of an action. Instead of using passive voice, try to use active voice whenever possible. Active voice is more direct and engaging, and it makes it easier for your reader to understand who is doing what.
  2. Confusing passive voice with Active voice: Another common error is confusing passive voice with active voice. In active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb. In passive voice, the subject of the sentence receives the action of the verb. For example, the sentence “The ball was thrown by the boy” is in the passive voice. The subject of the sentence, “ball,” is receiving the action of the verb, “thrown.” The sentence “The boy threw the ball” is in the active voice. The subject of the sentence, “boy,” is performing the action of the verb, “threw.”
  3. Using passive voice to avoid responsibility: Sometimes people use passive voice to avoid responsibility for an action. For example, instead of saying “I made a mistake,” someone might say “A mistake was made.” This can be a way of avoiding accountability for one’s actions.
  4. Using the wrong auxiliary verb: Auxiliary verbs are used to help form the passive voice. The most common auxiliary verbs used in the passive voice are “be” and “get.” For example, the sentence “The car was washed” uses the auxiliary verb “was.” The sentence “The car got washed” uses the auxiliary verb “got.” It is imperative to use the correct auxiliary verb when forming the passive voice.
  5. Omitting the agent: When using passive voice, it is sometimes necessary to include the agent, or the person or thing who performed the action. For example, the sentence “The window was broken” does not include the agent. It is possible to infer that the window was broken by someone, but it is not clear who did it. In some cases, it may be necessary to include the agent to provide more information or to hold someone accountable for an action.

Tips and techniques for avoiding these errors

  1. Use passive voice selectively: There are times when passive voice is appropriate, such as when the actor is unknown or irrelevant. However, it is crucial to use passive voice selectively. If you overuse passive voice, your writing will sound weak and indirect.
  2. Understand the difference between passive and Active voice: It is crucial to understand the difference between passive and active voice so that you can use them correctly. Active voice is more direct and engaging than passive voice. When possible, try to use active voice in your writing.
  3. Use passive voice appropriately: When you do use passive voice, make sure that you use it appropriately. For example, if you are trying to hold someone accountable for an action, include the agent in the sentence.
  4. Pay attention to auxiliary verbs: When you are forming the passive voice, use the correct auxiliary verb. The most common auxiliary verbs used in the passive voice are “be” and “get.”
  5. Include the agent when necessary: In some cases, it may be necessary to include the agent in the passive voice sentence. This is especially important if you are trying to hold someone accountable for an action or if you want to provide more information about who performed the action.

Review of using verbs in Passive Voice

Summary of the key points covered in the guide

The guide you mentioned discusses the importance of using passive voice correctly. Passive voice is a grammatical construction in which the subject of the sentence receives the action of the verb, rather than performing the action. For example, the sentence “The ball was thrown by the boy” is in the passive voice. The subject of the sentence, “ball,” is receiving the action of the verb, “thrown.”

There are times when passive voice is appropriate, such as when the actor is unknown or irrelevant. However, it is important to use passive voice selectively. If you overuse passive voice, your writing will sound weak and indirect.

Here are some of the key points covered in the guide:

  • Active voice is more direct and engaging than passive voice. When you use active voice, you are telling the reader who is doing what. This makes your writing more clear and concise.
  • Passive voice can make your writing sound weak and indirect. When you use passive voice, you are taking the focus away from the actor and putting it on the action. This can make your writing sound less forceful and less engaging.
  • There are times when passive voice is appropriate. For example, you may want to use passive voice when the actor is unknown or irrelevant. You may also want to use passive voice when you want to emphasize the action, rather than the actor.
  • It is important to use passive voice selectively. If you overuse passive voice, your writing will sound weak and indirect.

Final thoughts on the importance of using passive voice correctly

Passive voice is a powerful tool that can improve your writing and communication by focusing on the action being done rather than the doer of the action. Here are some final thoughts on using passive voice correctly:

  • Use active voice whenever possible. Active voice is more direct and engaging than passive voice.
  • Be aware of the times when passive voice is appropriate. You may want to use passive voice when the actor is unknown or irrelevant, or when you want to emphasize the action, rather than the actor.
  • Do not overuse passive voice. If you overuse passive voice, your writing will sound weak and indirect.

References

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