Chapter 50: Passivisation


Simple technique to convert active voice into passive

Normally the passive voice is characterized by the occurrence of a form of auxiliary verb 'be' + past participle of the main verb.

In a given sentence if the form of be occurs just before the past participle form of the main verb, it is said to be in passive voice.

So Passive voice = be ( any form of be) + past participle of verb

So now just have a look at this and try to identify the sentence in passive voice.

  1. She was torturing
  2. She has tortured
  3. She had been torturing
  4. She was tortured
See, in the first one though 'was' is a form of be the verb that follows is in gerund form.(- ing form). 
In the second one, there is no form of 'be'.
In the third one, we have a past participle of be(been) and gerund form .

In the fourth one, we have the 'be'( past form , was) + past participle form of the main verb' torture'( tortured) , occuring together
So this could be rightly identified as the one that is in passive voice

Now we are going to discuss a three- point formula for converting active voice into passive voice. Before that lets have a look at the concepts active voice and passive voice

What is active voice?
A sentence is said to be in active voice when the subject performs the action stated by the verb. It also takes a direct object too.
For example : She loved him
Can you identify the subject  , verb and object?

Obviously the subject in this sentence is She( personal pronoun), the verb , loved( past tense of the main verb love) and the object is him( a personal pronoun). Here the subject is the person who performs the action, and the impact of the action falls upon the object

So it is clear that a sentence in active voice will have a clear S-V-O pattern, though it can slightly vary. 
Note: in order to do the conversion you should be able to identify the subject verb and object in the given sentence.

What is Passive Voice?
A sentence is said to be in passive voice, when the subject is acted upon or the subject receives the action expressed by verb.
Ex He was loved by her
          ( be+past participle of love)

Lets go through the three- point formula for the conversion.

  1. Identify the subject in the sentence and replace it with the object
  2. Identify the main verb and replace it with auxiliary verb be' as in the same form of the verb
  3. Lastly, convert the main verb into its past participle form.

Look at this sentence:
She is eating an apple.
Step 1
Identify the subject first, also the object. Here in this sentence the subject is She. The object is An Apple . So we can now replace the subject she with the object An Apple.
So we got: An apple is…..

Note: is is retained as same in the active sentence. Every other components upto the verb should be retained without alterations.

Step 2.
Now identify the main verb. Here it is eat. But it occurs in the gerund eating. Now replace it with the same form of be. As we know the gerund form of be is being, we can replace eat with being. At the same time don't forget to retain the other components upto the verb as same as in active voice.
So we got upto: 
An apple is being…..

Step 3
Lastly convert the main verb into its past participle form. Here eat becomes eaten.
Note: if it's necessary you can add the phrase "by the subject "

So we have the final sentence:
An Apple is being eaten( by her).

She is eating an apple
.    An apple is being   eaten ( by her)

She would never ever have killed the beast.
Ans. The beast would never ever have been killed.

Passivisation of questions.
When we convert a question in active voice into passive voice, retain the interrogative part as such, so that the converted sentence shall also begin with the interrogative. For ex. How can we solve the problem?

Step 1
First of all,Retain the interrogative , including the modal auxiliary if any.
Here in the given sentence there is a modal auxiliary, can. So retain that too.
So we can begin with How can….

Step 2
Apply the same three- point formula to the rest part.

So we got the answer ,

How can the problem be solved?

Few more exercises.
Where has he hidden the doll?
Where has the doll been hidden?

How can he refuse the gift?
How can the gift be refused?