24 Sep

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A candidate has to gain systematic knowledge of English grammar in order to be successful in IBPS Bank PO & SSC CGL exams. Within grammar, one of the critical topics to be covered is: Active Voice & Passive Voice.Most candidates are somewhat familiar with this topic and have studied it at school level. But, when it comes to sentence error spotting quite often their knowledge proves to be inadequate.

According to experts from Vidya Guru, one of the Best IBPS Bank Exam Coaching Centres in Delhi, you must learn to transform sentences from active voice to passive voice and vice versa. In order to do so, you must understand and memorize the changes required to be done in the verb forms.

The following table demonstrates the transformation in the verb “write” which happens from active to passive.

Active Passive

TenseActive VoicePassive Voice
Simple Presentwrite / writes (V1)is / am / are written (is / am /are + V3)
Present Continuousis / am / are writing (is / am / are + V1 + ing)is / am / are being written (is / am / are + being + V3)
Present Perfecthas / have written (has / have + V3)has / have been written (has /have + been + V3)
Simple Pastwrote (V2)was / were written (was / were + V3)
Past continuouswas / were writing (was / were + V1 + ing)was / were being written (was / were + being + V3)
Past Perfecthad written (had + V3)had been written (had + been + V3)
Simple Futurewill / shall write (will / shall + V1)will / shall be written (will / shall + be + V3)
Future Perfectwill / shall have written (will /shall + have + V3)will / shall have been written (will / shall + have + been + V3)
Modalscan write (can + V1) / could write (could + V1) / may write (may + V1) / must write (must + V1)can be written (can + be + V3) / could be written (could + be + V3) / may be written (may + be + V3) / must be written (must + be + V3)

NOTE: Future continuous tense and perfect continuous tenses don’t have a passive form.

 Active Voice vs. Passive Voice:

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Active Voice– Active voice highlights the subject (the doer of the action). The sentence is of the form: Subject + Verb + Object. The object is that which receives the action performed by the subject.Sentences written in active voice attach importance to the action. They are clear and forthright. Moreover, they are less wordy as compared to those written in passive voice. Hence, active voice must be used for persuasive communication.

Passive Voice– The object (of the active verb)becomes the subject in passive voice. On the other hand, the subject (of the active verb) becomes a part of the by-phrase in passive voice.The use of passive voice is preferred where the doer of the action does not carry much significance eg. “Students are advised to complete their holiday homework in time”(who advised the students is not of much significance). It is also used when we don’t wish to reveal the subject eg. “The mistake that was committed last year may prove to be a costly one” (who committed the mistake has not been revealed).

Top Seven Rules for Conversion of Active into Passive:

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  1. The by-phrase is omitted, if an indefinite pronoun appears as the subject in active voice.


Active: Somebody stole my wallet yesterday.

Passive: My wallet was stolen yesterday. (by-phrase has been omitted)


Active: Nobody saw her approaching towards the gate.

Passive: She was not seen approaching towards the gate. (by-phrase has been omitted)

Somebody, someone, anybody, anyone, everybody, everyone, nobody, none, etc. are indefinite pronouns.

  1. The by-phrase is also omitted, if a vague noun appears as the subject in active voice.


Active: People around the world seek excitement.

Passive: Excitement is sought around the world. (by-phrase has been omitted)

Example – II

Active: Circumstances compelled her to accept a compromise.

Passive: She was compelled to accept a compromise. (by-phrase has been omitted)

“People” and “circumstances” are vague nouns that do not give much clarity about the doer of the action. Hence, the by phrase has not been used.

  1. If there is a question in active voice, then it remains a question in passive voice.


Active: Who broke the glass container?

Passive: By whom was the glass container broken?


Active: Can John answer such a tough question?

Passive: Can such a tough question be answered by John?

  1. If there is a command / order in active voice, then it is converted into “Let + Object + be + V3”structure in passive voice.


Active: Open the door.

Passive: Let the door be opened


Active: Revise your work thoroughly.

Passive: Let your work be revised thoroughly.

  1. If there is a request in active voice, then “You are Requested” structure is used in passive voice.

Example – I

Active: Please help me out.

Passive: You are requested to help me out.

Example – II

Active: Kindly take a note of all the requirements.

Passive: You are requested to take a note of all the requirements.

  1. If there is a suggestion/ advice in active voice, then “Should + be + V3” structure must be used in passive voice.

Example – I

Active: Boil the water before drinking.

Passive: The water should be boiled before drinking.

Example – II

Active: Eat a lot of fruits daily.

Passive: A lot of fruits should be eaten daily.

  1. Certain verbs take two objects: a direct object & an indirect object. Passive constructions involving such verbs can have two forms. One in which the direct object comes before the indirect object and the other in which it is vice versa.

Example – I

Active: The supervisor will issue you a warning.

Passive (I): A warning will be issued to you by the supervisor.

Passive (II): You will be issued a warning by the supervisor.

Example – II

Active: Rakesh handed her a box of chocolates.

Passive (I): A box of chocolates was handed to her by Rakesh.

Passive (II): She was handed a box of chocolates by Rakesh.

After internalizing the basic concepts, you must focus on getting adequate exposure to exam relevant content prepared by faculty from the Best Bank PO Coaching Institute in Delhi. This will help you fine tune your preparation strategy and get a better grip on sentence correction questions which are an integral part of the exam.


The fundamentals discussed in this article will stand you in a good stead when it comes to learning the difference between active voice and passive voice. However, for further guidance on this area or any other related to competitive exam preparation, you can write to vidyagurudelhi@gmail.com.


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