TOEIC Grammar basics - what is the passive voice?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,060 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2017 in Grammar

What is the passive voice?

Verbs can be described as active -I throw the ball or passive- The ball was thrown by me.

The difference is whether the subject is performing the action (throw) or receiving the action (was thrown).

For example:

Active voicePassive voice
The man cut his hair. His hair was cut.
They were reading the library books all day. The library books were being read all day.
Someone has set the table for dinner. The table has been set for dinner.

Notice how the passive voice is formed. Take the tense of the verb, add the verb to be and the third form of the main verb. I throw the ball (present tense). The ball is thrown (present tense of be plus the third form/past participle of throw (throw / threw / thrown).

Now, determine if the following sentences are active (the subject does the action) or passive (the subject receives the action).

1. They were putting the glasses into boxes.
2. Surgery was performed on his lungs.
3. Mankind has gone to the moon.
4. The serum was developed by Jonas Salk.

They were putting the glasses into boxes. - active
Surgery was performed on his lungs. - passive
Mankind has gone to the moon. - active
The serum was developed by Jonas Salk. - passive

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