English Daily Workout: How to Keep the Meaning of a Sentence When Changing Verb Voice

How to Keep the Meaning of a Sentence When Changing Verb Voice

English Grammar Lesson
English Exercises on Passive Voice: how to preserve the meaning on sentences when changing the voice of a verb.



Chapter 12: The Passive Voice
  5. Changing the voice of a verb while preserving the meaning of a sentence
         a. Changing the verb from the active voice to the passive voice
         b. Changing the verb from the passive voice to the active voice
         c. Changing the voice of a verb which takes both a direct object and an indirect object                




5. Changing the voice of a verb while preserving the meaning of a sentence
 

In order to preserve the meaning of a sentence when the Voice of the verb is changed, it is necessary to alter the order of the words in the sentence.

a. Changing the verb from the active voice to the passive voice

When a verb which takes an object is changed from the Active Voice to the Passive Voice, in order to preserve the meaning of the sentence, the former object becomes the subject of the verb, and the former subject may be preceded by the preposition by, and placed after the verb. In the following examples, the verbs are underlined, and the direct objects of the verbs are printed in bold type.

For instance, in the sentence:
      The wind is rippling the water.
the verb is rippling has the subject wind and takes the object water. When the verb is put into the Passive Voice and the meaning of the sentence is preserved, the former object, water, becomes the subject of the verb, and the former subject, wind, becomes the object of the preposition by, as follows:
      The water is being rippled by the wind.

Other examples are:
      Active: The squirrel ate the nut.
      Passive: The nut was eaten by the squirrel.

      Active: The child will open the parcel.
      Passive: The parcel will be opened by the child.

In the first pair of examples, the verb ate, in the Active Voice, is changed to was eaten, in the Passive Voice. In order to preserve the meaning, nut, the object of the verb in the Active Voice, becomes the subject of the verb in the Passive Voice, and is placed before the verb; and squirrel, the subject of the verb in the Active Voice, becomes the object of the preposition by, and is placed after the verb.

Similarly, in the second pair of examples, parcel, the object of the verb in the Active Voice, becomes the subject of the verb in the Passive Voice and is placed before the verb; and child, the subject of the verb in the Active Voice, becomes the object of the preposition by, and is placed after the verb.

Exercise 6

6. Change the underlined verbs in the following sentences from the Active Voice to the corresponding tenses in the Passive Voice. Preserve the meaning of the sentences by using the preposition by and making the necessary changes in word order. For example:
      The teenager rowed the boat.
      The boat was rowed by the teenager.

      The girl is riding the horse.
      The horse is being ridden by the girl.

      The student has prepared the lunch.
      The lunch has been prepared by the student.

      The president will thank the members.
      The members will be thanked by the president.

      The children can understand the poem.
      The poem can be understood by the children.

1. The woman founded the club.
2. This entry took the prize.
3. The girl is playing the guitar.
4. The mailman has delivered the letter.
5. The chauffeur can drive the car.
6. The child chose the hat.
7. The cat chased the mouse.
8. The workers will weave the carpet.
9. The stranger could have bought the hiking boots.
10. The dealer has sold the car.
11. The dog splashed the water.
12. The man has watered the garden.




b. Changing the verb from the passive voice to the active voice
When a verb is changed from the Passive Voice to the Active Voice, in order to preserve the meaning of the sentence, the former subject becomes the object of the verb, and, if the sentence includes a phrase beginning with the preposition by, the former object of the preposition becomes the subject of the verb.
e.g. Passive: The clover is being eaten by the cow.
      Active: The cow is eating the clover.

In this pair of examples, the verb is being eaten, in the Passive Voice, is changed to is eating, in the Active Voice. In order to preserve the meaning of the sentence, clover, the subject of the verb in the Passive Voice, becomes the object of the verb in the Active Voice, and is placed after the verb; and cow, the object of the preposition by, becomes the subject of the verb in the Active Voice, and is placed before the verb.

Other examples are:
      Passive: The wine was ordered by the dealer.
      Active: The dealer ordered the wine.

      Passive: The deer could have been killed by the poacher.
      Active: The poacher could have killed the deer.
Exercise 7

7. Change the underlined verbs in the following sentences from the Passive Voice to the corresponding tenses in the Active Voice. Preserve the meaning of the sentences by omitting the preposition by and making the necessary changes in word order. For example:
      The news was heard by everyone.
      Everyone heard the news.

      The orders were followed by the officials.
      The officials followed the orders.

      The money is being counted by the cashier.
      The cashier is counting the money.

      The ducks have been fed by the tourists.
      The tourists have fed the ducks.

      The flowers will be photographed by the naturalist.
      The naturalist will photograph the flowers.

1. The bill was paid by the manager.
2. The bread was made by the baker.
3. The wiring must be checked by the electrician.
4. The crow was being scolded by the squirrel.
5. The book was written by a doctor.
6. The house was painted by a student.
7. The seeds were taken by the chickadee.
8. The cider has been drunk by the guest.
9. The mail is opened by the secretary.
10. The ingredients have been measured by the cooks.
11. The bird was seen by the photographers.
12. His work will be published by the magazine.





c. Changing the voice of a verb which takes both a direct object and an indirect object

When a verb in the Active Voice takes both a direct object and an indirect object, either object can become the subject of the verb when the verb is put into the Passive Voice, and the meaning of the sentence is preserved. The object which does not become the subject remains as an object. When a verb in the Passive Voice takes an indirect object, the indirect object is usually preceded by a preposition.
e.g. Active: The guide will show you the museum.
      Passive: You will be shown the museum by the guide.
      Passive: The museum will be shown to you by the guide.

In the first sentence, the verb will show, in the Active Voice, takes the direct object museum, and the indirect object you. In the second and third sentences, the verb will be shown is in the Passive Voice, and the meaning has been preserved by altering the word order and using the preposition by. In the second sentence, the former indirect object, you, is the subject of the verb, and the former direct object, museum, remains the direct object. In the third sentence, the former direct object, museum, is the subject of the verb, and the former indirect object, you, is preceded by the preposition to.

A similar example is:
      Active: The policeman gave you a medal.
      Passive: You were given a medal by the policeman.
      Passive: A medal was given to you by the policeman.

In the first sentence, the verb gave, in the Active Voice, takes the direct object medal and the indirect object you. In the second and third sentences, the verb was given is in the Passive Voice. In the second sentence, the former indirect object, you, is the subject of the verb, and the former direct object, medal, remains the direct object. In the third sentence, the former direct object, medal, is the subject of the verb, and the former indirect object, you, is preceded by the preposition to.

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