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TEFL Grammar Lesson: Active and Passive Voice

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Erik Soderstrom

on 10 May 2011

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Transcript of TEFL Grammar Lesson: Active and Passive Voice

Active and Passive Voice Voice
Voice indicates whether the subject is
acting or being acted upon. Active Voice
Shows that the subject of the verb is,
has been, or will be doing something.

Example: The dog bit the ball Passive Voice Shows that the subject of the verb is being, has been or will be acted upon.

Example:The ball was bitten by the dog Examples of the Use of Passive Voice 1. The car was hit.

2. The dogs will be fed.

3. The law has been passed.

4. The actress was being applauded.

All of the subjects of the sentences have an outside agent
acting on them.

You could expand the sentences to show the object
performing the action:

1. The car was hit by hail.

2. The dogs will be fed by the neighbors.

3. The law has been passed by congress.

4. The actress was being applauded by the crowd, even after
the curtains closed in front of her. Passive Verb Formation Present: The house is built

Present Perfect: The house has been built.

Present Progressive: The house is being built.

Past: The house was built.

Past Perfect: The house had been built.

Past Progressive:The house was being built.

Future: The house will be built.

Future Perfect: The house will have been built. Active Voice vs. Passive Voice Active Voice: The lions attacked the buffalo.

Passive Voice: The buffalo was attacked by the lions.


Both sentences describe the same scene.

In the active voice, the subject (lions) is performing
the verb (attacked).

In the passive voice, the subject (buffalo) is recieving the verb (attacked). Write a sentence describing this picture in the passive voice. Write another sentence describing this picture in the passive voice. The active form of the first picture could be written like: "The girl ate the apple." The passive form would look like "The apple was eaten by the girl."

The active form of the second picture could be written like: "The monkey hugged the dog." The passive form would look like "The dog was hugged by the monkey." The active voice is more direct way to form your sentences. Passive voice usually needs more words. But certain situations it would help to use it.

If you want to emphasize something that happened to someone, rather than the person who performed the action, it would help.

For example:

My friend was given a horse. (passive)


Someone gave my friend as horse. (active)

Since you may not know who gave your friend a horse, it would be easier to just say your friend was given a horse. American History in Passive Voice The United States of America was established by the founding fathers, after the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. George Washington was chosen by the American people to become the first president of the United States. Before independence, America had been ruled by Great Britain. The thirteen colonies had been used by the British to grow cotton and tobacco. The French were considered to be allies to the Americans during the Revolutionary War. The Revolutionary War was put to an end by the British surrender in Yorktown. Can you point out the passive voice throughout this passage? Now for you to try:

Think of a time that something happened to you. It could be a good time, or bad time. Attempt to write a journal entry (6-8 sentences) using as much of the passive voice as you can.
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