What is active voice?

The concept of active voice appears in the field of grammar and is linked to a way of conjugating verbs. Also known as direct voice, active voice refers to an agent subject who performs an action. In the case of passive voice, the action is suffered by the subject (patient subject).

For example: “Carlos drinks wine”. In this case, the verb bebe (“bebe”) is conjugated in the active voice: “Carlos” is the active subject that performs the action (“bebe”). In other words, the subject performs and controls the action in question. This same idea could be expressed in passive voice as follows: “The wine is drunk by Carlos”. As can be seen, “Carlos” is no longer the active subject, but “The wine” . This subject, in turn, is passive: he suffers the action. The verb to drink is conjugated as “is drunk”.

It is important to underline that the two sentences have the same meaning: “Carlos drinks wine” and “The wine is drunk by Carlos” allude to an identical situation. The choice of active or passive voice depends on what you want to highlight. In general, the active voice is used when you want to highlight the person who performs the action (in the case of our example, that “Carlos” is the one who “drinks wine”). When converting the sentence from active voice to passive voice, finally, the subject (is no longer “Carlos” and becomes “O vinho”) and the verb (from “to drink” to “está drunk”) ) are modified. One of the peculiarities used in relation to active voice and passive voice is that they allow the direct object to be discovered in a sentence. Yes, that’s the way it is, and that’s how language teachers point it out to their students. Specifically, many teachers come to indicate to students that if in a sentence they have doubts about what the direct object is, what they should do is transform the active voice into passive voice. Many other examples that can be used to understand these two types of voices are as follows:

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– “Manuel writes poetry” (active voice) and “Manuel writes poetry” (passive voice).

– “Eva interprets a song” (active voice) and “A song is interpreted by Eva” (passive voice).

– “David paints the wall” (active voice) and “The wall is painted by David” (passive voice).

– “The monarch distributes gifts among his subjects” (active voice) and “Gifts are distributed by the king among his subjects (passive voice). Not only in Spanish is the active and passive voice used. In English, for example, special emphasis is also given to students learning to use one and the other. Thus, for example, those who are learning the aforementioned language receive a series of basic guidelines on the aforementioned passive voice, such as:

– It should be used when the important thing in the sentence is the thing or person that is the object of an action.

-Can also be used when you don’t know who is doing the action.

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