What is active and passive voice?
The active or passive voice refers to the type of verb form used in a sentence. The term 'voice' can help children understand that these different verb forms are typically used to communicate in different styles.
The active voice is clear and direct. In a sentence written in the active voice, the subject performs the verb. The focus is on who (or what) is causing something to happen.
The ball broke the window.
The pilot flew the plane.
The passive voice is more formal and impersonal. In a sentence written in the passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb. The focus is on what is happening or has happened. Sentences written in the passive voice also include a form of the auxiliary verb 'to be' before the action verb (e.g. is, are, was, were).
The window was broken by the ball.
The plane was flown by the pilot.
The features of each type of sentence structure can be seen clearly in the examples below.