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Voice

Everybody drinks water.
Water is drunk by everybody.

Voice is a grammatical category that applies to verbs. Voice in English expresses the relationship of the subject to the action. Voice has two values:

  • active: the subject does the action
  • passive: the subject receives the action
Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.      
    Hamlet was written by Shakespeare.

The active voice is the “normal” voice – the one that we use most of the time. In the active voice, the object receives the action of the verb:

active subject verb object
 
Cats eat mice.

The passive voice is less common. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb:

passive subject verb object
 
Mice are eaten by cats.

See how the object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive verb:

  subject verb object
active Everybody drinks water.
passive Water is drunk by everybody.

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