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What is “Active and Passive Voice?” Grammar Review

Great subject! Students learn active voice at the earliest stages of English. Passive voice is usually taught at the pre-intermediate or intermediate levels. However, students should be introduced to passive voice at the earliest stages of English study. Why? To stress the importance of both the verb “To Be” and “Participle 2“ verbs. Why is this important? Both passive and active are used in everyday speech! It is also important that students study all three verb forms at the earliest stages. In other words, students should study verbs in the “Infinitive, Past Simple and Participle 2“ at the earliest stages. Active voice is when the focus is on the subject with a verb. Passive voice is when the focus is on the object with a verb. This is a simple explanation.

Here is an example in active voice:

“Earnest Hemingway wrote this book”

Here is an example in passive:

“This book was written by Earnest Hemingway”

You will notice the focus changes when we use passive. In “Active voice” we want to refer to the writer. Maybe he is the author of many books and we want to talk about Earnest Hemingway! It could also be that we are only talking about the author and just one book! In “Passive voice”, we refer to one of many books. There might be a pile of books on the table or in the library! In this case, we want to clearly identify who wrote each and every book! Passive is formed using the object as the subject + the verb “To be” + Participle 2. Here are two more examples!

Active: American farmers grow corn!

Passive: Corn is grown by American farmers!

Notice how I changed the focus (Subject) from American to Corn. There is a lot more to this subject! Study your verbs in all three forms and you will be speaking English in no time! Ask your teacher to explain this subject further and provide you with study materials.

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