Voice Changing Theory in English Grammar

In English grammar, Voice Changing is an essential part of transformation of sentences in which you have to transform the active sentences into passive forms. Actually, Voice indicates the manner of writing a sentence which shows whether its subject is the ‘doer’ or ‘doee’ of the action expressed by the verb in it. I hope you know that voice is classified into two parts: Active voice and Passive voice.

Today, I am going to tell you on the voice and its changing rules. You must know the definition and function of voice in order to change sentences from active to passive.

If you try to learn from a grammar book, you will get hundred rules on voice changing.

Well, that’s not wrong but I myself became confused when I tried to learn voice from a text book in my childhood.

After that, I myself made a theory on voice changing which made the lesson more easier for me.

So, now I am going to show you that theory on voice changing. Before that, you must know some basic points related to voice. Let’s start….

Today in this lesson I am going to discuss on several points such as:

Discussion Topics

  • Introduction of voice
  • Its classification
  • And its primary changing rules.

By the way, have you read the 2nd lesson on ”Classifications of Persons” in my Grammar Series. If you have read, then you presence here is ok but if not, please study that lessons first to continue the logical track of your active voice learning. Because, the various forms of person will be needed for voice changing. However, now I will not take your time more and will start the discussion. And I have said you that I will focus on some points or terms related to voice firstly.

What is Voice….?

Voice indicates the manner of writing a sentence which shows its subject is the ‘doer’ or ‘doee’ of the action expressed by the verb in it. Basically, voice shows us the condition of subject in that sentence. It tells us that whether the subject is powerful or powerless in case of action in that sentence. And based on this condition, we know that Voice can be classified into two classes: active voice and passive voice.

Follow these two sentences below to understand the forms of active and passive.

Active: I make a basket for my business.
Passive: A basket is made by me for my business.

Well, now see these two points:  ”Doer and Doee”

doer- the person who acts and is powerful
doee- the person or the thing which is influenced by doer and is powerless

When the subject is ‘doer’ in a sentence, it is called active voice.
When the subject is ‘doee’ in a sentence, it is called passive voice.

Notice these sentences:  
Active: I am writing a report on pollution.

(Here, ‘I’ is the ‘doer’ of the verb ‘writing’ and it is subject, so this is active sentence.)

Passive: A report on pollution is being written by me.

(Here, ‘a report on pollution’ is the ‘doee’ of the verb ‘writing’ and it is unable or powerless to write anything but this is subject in this sentence. So, it is passive sentence.)

Now, I want to show you the theory that will tell us about each elements of voice changing. Here it is…

Master Structure:

 

Again confused!

Oh! It’s natural. Read the explanations of this logic below. You will understand easily.

Explanation of the structure:

T= Tense marking– (What is the tense of the sentence?)
S= Subject marking– (Which part of the sentence is subject?)
O= Object marking– (Which part of the sentence is object?)
E= Extra marking– (Which part of the sentence is extra or adjunct and how many are they?)
Mv= Main Verb marking– (Which part of the sentence is main verb?)
S= Sentence category– (What is the kind of the sentence such as :assertive/negative/interrogative?)

Now see the practical usages of this logic in sentence:

I

have taken

my breakfast

just now.

subject

present perfect

object

extrta

Now the parts of the sentence which we have worked out will be used to transform the sentence from active to passive: Here is the structure of voice changing and now you will understand completely why I am searching for these elements.

Passive structure:

(Object will be replaced by Subject+ auxiliary verb according to the tense+ past participle form of the main verb+ by+ Subject will be replaced by Object+ extra)

 

Let’s have an example:

My breakfast has been taken by me just now.
Object will be replaced by Subject auxiliary verb according to the tense past participle form of the main verb Subject  will be replaced by Object extra

 

More examples:
Active: Your friend likes my job because of privacy.
Passive: My job is liked by your friend because of privacy .

Active: Most of the people are making this shield for their protection.
Passive: This shield is being made by most of the people for their protection.

Nice!

You have learned the voice changing of the affirmative sentences. Besides, you have to learn the negative form and interrogative form. It is not so much different or difficult. Here it is:

Negative structure:

(Object will be replaced by Subject+ auxiliary verb according to the tense +not + past participle form of the main verb+ by+ Subject will be replaced by Object+ extra)

 

Example:
Active: I do not make any illegal product here.
Passive: Any illegal product is not made by me here.

Interrogative structure:
(auxiliary verb according to the tense + Object will be replaced by Subject +the extended part of auxiliary verb+ past participle form of the main verb +by+ Subject will be replaced by Object+ extra)

 

Example:
Active: Are you writing a letter now?
Passive: Is a letter being written by you?

Have you noticed one thing?  

I am using several different forms of auxiliary verbs in different tenses. Yes, this is the point that you have to memorize only. Notice, every element is present in active voice and we are changing the positions of them only in passive.

But, the auxiliary verb is something which is not present in active form. You have to learn that which auxiliary verb is used for which tense particularly. And here is the quick chart on it. Following this chart you can easily remember the auxiliary verbs.

 

List of Auxiliary Verbs according to the Tenses

 

Indefinite am/is/are was/were Shall be/will be
Continues am/is/are was/were Shall be/will be
+being
Perfect have/has had Shall have/will have
+been
Perfect Continues have/has had Shall have/will have
been+ being

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Now, I am giving the examples of voice changing over all tenses. Read these examples carefully. Remember one thing, example is the practical field of your theory and you cannot ignore it.

Voice of Indefinite Tense
Robin breaks a glass during lunch.
A glass is broken by robin during lunch.
Broke
was broken
Will break
will be broken

Voice of Continues Tense

Robin is breaking a glass during lunch.
A glass is being broken by robin
during lunch.
Was breaking
was being broken
Will be breaking
will be being broken

Voice of Perfect Tense

Robin has broken a glass during lunch.
A glass has been broken by robin during lunch.
Had broken
had been broken
Will have broken
will have been broken

Voice of Perfect Continues Tense

Robin has been breaking a glass during lunch.
A glass has been being broken by robin during lunch.
Had been breaking
had been being broken
Will have been breaking
will have been being broken

 

These are all about of the primary level of voice and its changing. These voice changing rules are based on the classifications of tenses. There are some exceptional rules of voice changing which I will teach you later in next lesson.

I think, if you follow the methods which I have described, you can easily remember the structures of voice changing and can successfully change the voice from active to passive form. But if you face any problem in proper understanding, don’t hesitate to ask me. Hope, this will help you a lot.

Thank you very much

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