The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Active and Passive Voice: PDF Notes for CBSE Class 6

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Active and Passive Voice: PDF Notes for CBSE Class 6
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Welcome to the ultimate guide for aspiring linguists in CBSE Class 6! In this PDF ebook, we demystify the concepts of active and passive voice, helping you understand their mechanics effortlessly.

Whether you're an English language learner or looking to master the nuances of grammar, this guide has got you covered. Powered by engaging examples and comprehensive explanations, our notes break down the differences between active and passive voice, how they impact sentence construction, and when to use each one effectively. As you dive into this resource, you'll uncover the secrets to crafting powerful and captivating sentences that leave a lasting impression.

Designed with the CBSE syllabus in mind, our PDF notes align perfectly with your curriculum requirements, making it an invaluable tool for exam preparation. By the end of this guide, you'll not only grasp the fundamentals of active and passive voice, but you'll also be armed with the skills to expertly identify and employ them in your own writing. Begin your journey to grammatical prowess today and unlock the potential within your words. Let's get started!

Active and Passive Voice

What is Active Voice?

Active voice is a way of constructing sentences where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. In active voice, the focus is on the subject doing the action. It's a more direct and straightforward way of writing or speaking. For example, in the sentence "The teacher explained the lesson," the teacher (the subject) is actively doing the explaining. Active voice usually follows a clear subject-verb-object structure, making it easier for the reader to understand who is responsible for the action. It is often preferred in writing because it is more engaging and dynamic.

What is Passive Voice?

Passive voice is a sentence construction where the subject is acted upon by the verb. In passive voice, the focus is more on the action than the doer. For instance, "The lesson was explained by the teacher" is a passive construction. The subject (the lesson) receives the action of the verb. Passive voice often uses a form of the verb 'to be' plus the past participle of the main verb. While sometimes criticized for creating weaker or less direct sentences, passive voice is useful in certain contexts, especially when the doer of the action is unknown or unimportant.

Understanding the Difference Between Active and Passive Voice

The key difference between active and passive voice lies in what is emphasized in the sentence - the doer or the action. In active voice, the subject performs the action (e.g., "The dog caught the ball"). In passive voice, the subject receives the action (e.g., "The ball was caught by the dog"). Active sentences are usually more concise and clearer, whereas passive sentences can be useful for focusing on the action or when the actor is unknown or irrelevant.

Examples of Active and Passive Voice

Active Voice examples:

  • "The chef cooked a delicious meal."
  • "She writes the reports every week."

Passive Voice examples:

  • "A delicious meal was cooked by the chef."
  • "The reports are written by her every week."

These examples show how the focus shifts from the doer in the active voice to the action or the recipient of the action in the passive voice.

Active and passive voice chart

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Active Voice


  • Clarity: Active sentences are usually more straightforward and easier to understand.
  • Brevity: Active voice often leads to shorter, more concise sentences.
  • Engagement: Active voice can make writing more lively and engaging.


  • Overemphasis on the actor: Sometimes, the focus on the doer is not necessary or desired, which can be a drawback in certain contexts.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Passive Voice


  • Emphasis on the action: Useful when the action or the object of the action is more important than the actor.
  • Ambiguity: Can be used when the actor is unknown, unimportant, or obvious.


  • Lack of clarity: Can sometimes make sentences more difficult to follow.
  • Wordiness: Passive constructions are often longer than their active counterparts.

When to Use Active Voice

Active voice is generally best used when you want to make your writing clear, direct, and engaging. It is particularly suited for business writing, journalistic writing, and academic writing when clarity and brevity are important.

When to Use Passive Voice

Passive voice is useful when the focus needs to be on the action or the recipient of the action rather than the doer. It is often used in scientific writing, formal documents, and when discussing sensitive subjects where the actor's identity is irrelevant or should be anonymous.

Tips for Identifying Active and Passive Voice in Sentences

  • Active Voice: Look for a clear subject-verb-object order. The subject is doing the action.
  • Passive Voice: The sentence will often have a form of 'to be' plus a past participle. The subject is receiving the action.

Active and passive voice rules chart

Active Voice Rules:

  1. Structure: The typical structure of a sentence in active voice is Subject + Verb + Object. The subject performs the action stated by the verb, and the object receives the action.

  2. Clarity and Conciseness: Active voice generally makes your sentences clearer and more concise.

  3. Directness: It provides a straightforward way of presenting information, where the focus is on the subject performing the action.

    Example: "The cat (subject) chases (verb) the mouse (object)."

Passive Voice Rules:

  1. Structure: In passive voice, the structure is typically Object + Form of "be" + Past Participle of the Verb + (by + Subject). The subject of the sentence is acted upon or is the receiver of the action.

  2. Focus on Action or Object: Passive voice shifts the focus from the doer (subject) to the action or the object of the action.

  3. Usefulness: It is useful when the doer is unknown, irrelevant, or obvious. It's also commonly used in formal and scientific writing.

    Example: "The mouse (object) is chased (form of 'be' + past participle) by the cat (subject)."

Additional Points:

  • Shift in Emphasis: Active voice emphasizes the doer of the action, while passive voice emphasizes the action itself or the recipient of the action.
  • Verb Forms: Passive voice uses a form of the verb "to be" plus the past participle of the main verb. The form of "to be" changes according to the tense and subject of the sentence.
  • Subject-Object Swap: In passive voice, the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence.

Conclusion: Choosing the Right Voice for Effective Communication

Choosing between active and passive voice depends on what you want to emphasize in your writing. For clarity and conciseness, active voice is generally preferable. However, there are situations where passive voice is more appropriate, especially in formal or scientific contexts. Understanding the differences and appropriate uses of each can significantly enhance communication effectiveness.

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