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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 24. Active Voice and Passive Voice. English Grammar

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I want to talk now about the active and

passive voice voice is an attribute of

every verb so every verb in English is

either in the active voice or the

passive voice and I want to explain what

that means it would help if you knew

what a transitive verb and a direct

object is but it's probably not

essential for this lesson now let's take

a simple sentence like I will slap the

ward now in asking what voices it in is

it in the active voice or the passive

voice we need to know two things we need

to know first what the subject of the

verb is and I will slap will slap is the

verb and the subject is I so the

subjects I the other thing we need to

know is the agent and that's a new idea

I haven't talked about before the agent

is the entity the person or thing that

is doing whatever action is named by the

main verb and the main foot so the whole

verb here is will slap the main verb is

always the last word in the verb slap so

who is doing this slapping and the

answer is ah I am doing the slap I will

slap the board so I'm doing the slapping

so I is the subject and the agent and

that means that this is in the active

voice the active voice is said to occur

when the subject and the agent are the

same now when can it other it can it be

otherwise how can the subject not be the

agent well I will slap the board can be

re-written in this way the board will be

slapped

the board will be select looks kind of

light but that's what it says the board

will be slapped now what do we have here

the verb is now three words law will be

slapped what is the subject well the

board the board is now the subject the

board will be slapped so the board is

the subject and what is doing this

slapping well not the board the board

isn't slapping the board is being

slapped so the agent in this reworking

of this sentence the agent is actually

unnamed we don't know who the agent is

so this is in the passive voice so the

passive voice is what you've got when

the subject and the agent are not

identical when they are not the same

then something is said to be in the

passive voice now so even if I have

written the board will be slapped by me

and thus include the agent I you still

would not have a situation where the

subject in the agent were the same so to

sum up when the subject is the agent

it's in the active voice the verbs in

the active voice when the subject is not

the agent the verb is in the passive

voice now as you can see what happens

just in this move from active to passive

is here the board which is the object it

answers the questions what is slapped

the board becomes the subject so what is

the object in the active voice becomes

the subject in the passive voice there

are a few other things you can say about

the passive voice the passive voice of a

verb will always be one word longer than

the active voice will slap in the active

becomes will be slapped three words as

opposed to

and that extra word is always going to

be a form of the verb to be it won't

always be B as it is here but it will

always be some form of the word to be

and the last word the main verb of every

passive voice verb is the past

participle it's always going to be a

past participle now all verbs can be

expressed in the active voice but not

all verbs can be expressed in the

passive voice so for example we look at

this sentence the price fell quickly

well okay is this in the active or the

passive fell is the verb actually we

already know because the passive voice

can never the verb in the passive voice

can never be just one word long it

always must be at least two and one of

those two would have to be a form of to

be but fell so what fell the price so

the price is the subject and what did

this falling what did the falling again

the price so we have here the active

voice is the agent and the subject are

the same but if we try to rewrite this

in the passive we get into trouble

because if we say well here we say what

is slang the ward and here if we ask the

question what is fallen

well the price fell but it doesn't make

grammatical sense to say the price is

falling you could say the price has

fallen but not the price is gone so this

just doesn't make any sense and it's

even more obvious if the sentence is

something like I am happy well now if

you were to try to ask the question of

what what is slapped the question here

would be what is been which is

absolutely not an English kind of

question that just doesn't make any

sense so one other thing on this

introductory first pass at the passive

voice and active voice one thing that's

interesting is that sentences that sound

perfectly natural in the active voice

can sound really odd in the passive

voice and this can be a source of humor

at say parties or or on a date if things

are getting kind of slow here I've

written probably very lightly here I'll

be seeing you I'll be seeing you

now what voice is that in well the the

verb is three words long we'll be seeing

and who is doing this scene I so eyes

the subject and and the agent issues is

the agent eyes doing the same and I is

also the subject so here we have an

active voice what is seen you so we

could make you the subject of a passive

voice construction and instead of will

be seeing three words we need something

that's four words long and it would be

you'll be being seen by me so if I'll be

seeing you is the active voice

you'll be being seen by me is the exact

equivalent in the passive voice except

it sounds really odd and in fact a

little creepy so if you want to freak

somebody out you can say to them instead

of all be seen you just say you'll be

being seen by me

The Description of 24. Active Voice and Passive Voice. English Grammar