What are active and passive voices?

An active voice is when the subject of the sentence is performing the act.

The bees are making honey.

The bees are the subject, making is the verb and honey is the object. 


A passive voice is when the subject of the sentence is having something done to it by somebody else. Often the word 'by' is used but not always.

Honey is being made by the bees.

The subject is now honey.


The passive voice is often used in:

Reports or crimes - He was sentenced to five years in jail.

Newspaper reports - The biggest festival of the year was cancelled.

Announcements - The 12 o’clock flight to Paris has been delayed.

Notices - Customers are asked not to touch.

Scientific writing - The young male walked away from the herd.


See if you can spot the active and passive voices in the following sentences.

Here is an example of the type of question you will be asked:

True or False - This sentence is active: The cat was chased by the dog.

The answer is false. It is passive.