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Active vs. Passive Voice

Active vs. Passive Voice

Active vs. Passive Voice

In the realm of writing, the choice between active and passive voice holds sway over how our narratives unfold, especially across various tenses. Let's explore the dynamics of each, spanning simple present, simple past, present continuous, present perfect, past perfect, past continuous, future, and future perfect tenses, with illuminating examples.



Simple Present Tense

Active Voice:

She studies English subject 

Here, the subject (She) actively engages in the action (studies).

Passive Voice

English subject is studied by her.  

In this construction, the subject (English subject) passively undergoes the action (is studied).


Simple Past Tense

Active Voice

He painted the masterpiece.  

In this instance, the subject (He) directly performs the action (painted).

Passive Voice

The masterpiece was painted by him.  

Now, the subject (The masterpiece) is the recipient of the action (was painted).


Present Continuous Tense

Active Voice

They are building a house.  

The subject (They) is actively engaged in the ongoing action (are building).

Passive Voice

A house is being built by them.  

Now, the subject (A house) passively experiences the ongoing action (is being built).


Present Perfect Tense

Active Voice

She has written the report.  

Here, the subject (She) has completed the action (has written).


Passive Voice

The report has been written by her.  

In this construction, the subject (The report) has had the action (has been written) applied to it.


Past Perfect Tense

Active Voice

He had finished the book before dinner.  

The subject (He) had completed the action (had finished) before a specific point in the past (before dinner).


Passive Voice

The book had been finished before dinner by him.  

Here, the subject (The book) had undergone the action (had been finished) before the specified time (before dinner).


Past Continuous Tense

Active Voice

She was reading a book when the phone rang.  

The subject (She) was engaged in the ongoing action (was reading) when another action (the phone rang) interrupted.

Passive Voice

A book was being read by her when the phone rang.  

In this construction, the subject (A book) was experiencing the ongoing action (was being read) when interrupted by another action (the phone rang).

Future Tense

Active Voice

They will build a bridge next year.  

Here, the subject (They) will execute the action (will build) in the future.


Passive Voice

A bridge will be built by them next year.  

Now, the subject (A bridge) awaits the action (will be built) in the future.


Future Perfect Tense

Active Voice

She will have finished her project by tomorrow.  

The subject (She) will complete the action (will have finished) before a specific point in the future (by tomorrow).

Passive Voice

Her project will have been finished by her by tomorrow.  

Here, the subject (Her project) will have undergone the action (will have been finished) before the specified time (by tomorrow).


Tips for Navigating Active and Passive Voice Across Tenses


1. Prioritize Clarity

 Active voice often leads to more straightforward, direct communication.

2. Consider Context

 Passive voice can convey a sense of formality or objectivity, suitable for certain contexts.

3. Audience Awareness:

Tailor your choice to resonate effectively with your readers, considering their preferences and comprehension level.

4. Flexibility is Key:

 While active voice tends to be more engaging, passive voice has its place in specific scenarios, such as scientific or technical writing.

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