Active voice vs Passive voice
I was asked about the difference between the following two partial sentences:
1. She has been going …
2. She has been sent …
The quick answer is that “she has been going” is in the active voice and “she has been sent” is in the passive voice. Consider who goes vs who sends.
The difference between the active voice and the passive voice is that in the active voice the subject of the sentence does the action, but in the passive voice the subject of the sentence receives the action. The action depends on what verb is used.
Subject – the person, place, thing or concept that is doing or feeling something. (philosophy, communism, etc are concepts)
Verb – The word used to describe an action or a feeling. (to run is an action, to hate is a feeling)
Object – The person, place, thing or concept that receives the action.
Consider the following sentences:
• The boy hit the ball. (boy is the subject, hit is the verb, ball is the object) This sentence was written in the active voice.
• The ball was hit by the boy. The action taken is hitting, so hit is the verb. Who performs the action? The boy hits. Who receives the action? The ball is hit so the ball receives the action of the hitting. This is the passive voice.
Note: The passive voice can be used in sentences that have a direct object. The meaning of the sentence stays the same.
Painters paint houses. – Active
The houses are painted by painters. – Passive
I spoke to him. – Active
He was spoken to by me. – Passive
I hope this explains the difference for you. If you have other questions, email me and I will be happy to answer them.