Many teachers, editors, and grammar aficionados will insist that the passive voice should be avoided whenever possible in writing.
While the passive voice is acceptable (and sometimes more realistic) in creative writing and dialogue, it is true that it tends to make writing weaker.
To better understand the difference between the passive and active voices, try some of the exercises below.
Review: What is the Passive Voice?
When the passive voice is used in a sentence, the subject is acted upon by the verb, whereas with the active voice, the subject performs the action indicated by the verb.
The passive voice places greater importance on the person or thing that is experiencing an action, rather than the person or thing that is performing the action.
Although it’s considered a grammatical error in many cases, the passive voice does have a place, especially in more creative writing. Ultimately, you should also prioritize clarity and efficiency when deciding between the active or passive voice.
Passive Voice Exercises: All Tenses
Try the exercises below to test your knowledge of the passive and active voices.
Passive to Active Voice
See if you can rewrite the following passive sentences in the active voice. You can find the answers by downloading the PDF below.
- The painting was done by Picasso.
- Dinner is being prepared by Rita.
- The vase was broken by Tom.
- The car was washed by David before his date.
- Next year, engineering will be studied by the students.
- The sink should be fixed by the plumber tomorrow.
- Five tickets were reserved by the family.
- The rooms had been throughly cleaned by Mara.
- Five million dollars were donated by Leonardo DiCaprio.
- This dress was given to me by my grandmother.
- The election was won by Donald Trump.
- It’s easy to tell when Julia is annoyed by Mark.
- My homework was eaten by my dog.
- The table was reserved by Valerio.
- The rock that broke the window had been thrown by Steven.
Active to Passive Voice
Rewrite the following sentences using the passive voice. You can find the answers by downloading the PDF below.
- My grandfather built this house in 1917.
- By this time tomorrow, we will have closed the contract.
- Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet.
- Michael hired Karen last year.
- Someone should finish the project.
- We had lost all hope.
- People in Italy speak Italian.
- The tortoise ate all of lettuce.
- All of the students love Mrs. Clark.
- John deceived me.
- Quentin Tarantino directed Pulp Fiction.
- Her parents sold the house last year.
- Will they release my new book next month?
- They closed the factory five years ago.
- Sam invited Kelly to the party.
Passive and Active Voice Worksheets
Learning to substitute the passive voice with the active voice can turn good writing into great writing—but first you’ll need to understand each voice.
Get to know the difference between the passive and active voices by using the worksheets above.
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