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Opinions of Thursday, 2 July 2015

Columnist: Azindoo, Abubakar Mohammed Marzuq

Literary Discourse: Active and Passive Voice [Part Two]


In a previous discourse, we started ACTIVE AND PASSIVE VOICE, and today we continue from CHANGE OF SENTENCE FROM ACTIVE TO PASSIVE. Before we proceed, we recap the learning outcomes.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this discourse, fellow learners and readers are expected to understand:

• Active Voice and proper usage in a passage
• Passive Voice and proper usage in a passage
• Forms of Passive Voice
• Retained Object in Passive Construction.

Change of sentence from Active to Passive

To change a sentence from Active to Passive Voice, one may consider the following guidelines:

• Move the active sentence's direct object into the sentence's subject slot.

• Place the active sentence's subject into a phrase beginning with the preposition “by.”

• Add a form of the auxiliary verb “be” to the main verb and change the main verb's form.

Because passive voice sentences necessarily add words and change the normal doer-action-receiver-of-action order, they may make the reader work harder to understand the intended meaning.
On the contrary, a sentence in Active Voice flows more smoothly and is easier to understand than the same sentence in Passive Voice. This is illustrated by the examples below:

• Azindoo teaches Academic Writing at University of Applied Management. [Active].
• Academic Writing is taught by Azindoo at University of Applied Management. [Passive].
• Wunpini is reading an interesting novel. [Active].
• An interesting novel is being read by Wunpini. [Passive].
• The colonial regime built Gbewaa Secondary School in 1950. [Active]
• Gbewaa Secondary School was built by the colonial regime in 1950. [Passive].

Change of sentence from Passive to Active

To change a Passive Voice sentence to an Active Voice sentence, one may simply reverse the steps shown above.
• Move the passive sentence's subject into the active sentence’s direct object slot.

• Remove the auxiliary verb “be” from the main verb and change the main verb's form if the need arises.

• Place the passive sentence's object of the preposition “by” into the subject slot.

To be continued.