Active and passive voice: tiger

2 - The Grammar Bit

The Grammar Bit!

Read the first three sentences opposite, which are in the active voice. Notice how the agent of the action, the subject (bold), always appears before the receiver of the action, the object (underlined). This has the effect of putting the focus on the subject, and it gives each sentence a very strong, clear voice.

Now read the three related sentences, which are in the passive voice. You’ll notice that in each sentence, the agent of the action has moved to the end and the receiver of the action has moved to the front (becoming the new subject). Notice how the word ‘by’ is commonly used in the passive voice to indicate who performed the action.

When writing in the passive voice, you may decide to leave out the agent of the action altogether (indicated by the brackets).This is known as the agentless passive! Discuss the effect of this with your talk partner.

Scintillating Sentences

Active voice
1) The furious tigress chased the raucous peacock.
2) The amorous peacock woke the sleeping tigress.
3) The tigress swallowed one of the peacock’s magnificent tail feathers.

Passive voice
1) The raucous peacock was chased (by the furious tigress).
2) The sleeping tigress was awoken (by the amorous peacock).
3) The peacock had one of its magnificent tail feathers swallowed (by the tigress).


It was a catastrophic encounter for the raucous peacock!