Active Passive Voice / Direct and Indirect Narration – English Grammar
Active and Passive Sentences
Active and passive voice are two different ways of constructing sentences, depending on whether the subject performs the action (active voice) or receives the action (passive voice). Here is a detailed explanation of each with examples:
In active voice sentences, the subject performs the action. The active voice is typically more direct and straightforward.
Active Voice: She wrote a book.
Explanation: In this sentence, “She” is the subject, and she performs the action of writing the book. The sentence is clear and concise.
Active Voice: The dog chased the ball.
Explanation: In this sentence, “The dog” is the subject, and it performs the action of chasing the ball. The sentence clearly states who is performing the action.
In passive voice sentences, the subject receives the action or is acted upon. The focus is on the object rather than the subject.
Passive Voice: The book was written by her.
Explanation: In this sentence, “The book” is the subject, but it is receiving the action of being written. The emphasis is on the book and the fact that it was written by her.
Passive Voice: The ball was chased by the dog.
Explanation: In this sentence, “The ball” is the subject, but it is receiving the action of being chased. The emphasis is on the ball and the fact that it was chased by the dog.
Key Differences and Usage:
- Subject-Action Relationship:
– Active Voice: The subject performs the action directly.
– Passive Voice: The subject receives the action and is not the primary focus of the sentence.
- Sentence Structure:
– Active Voice: Subject + Verb + Object.
– Passive Voice: Object + Verb (past participle) + “by” + Subject (optional).
- Verb Forms:
– Active Voice: Uses the base form of the verb.
– Passive Voice: Uses the past participle form of the verb, preceded by a form of “be” (e.g., is, was, were).
- Emphasis and Clarity:
– Active Voice: Provides a clear and direct focus on the subject performing the action.
– Passive Voice: Shifts the focus to the object or receiver of the action.
- Usage and Effect:
– Active Voice: Commonly used to highlight the doer of the action and make the sentence more dynamic and engaging.
– Passive Voice: Used when the focus is on the receiver of the action, to emphasize the action itself, or when the doer is unknown or less important.
Active Voice: The chef prepared the meal.
Explanation: The active voice emphasizes the chef’s action of preparing the meal, highlighting their role in the sentence.
Passive Voice: The meal was prepared by the chef.
Explanation: The passive voice shifts the focus to the meal, highlighting that it was prepared by the chef without explicitly stating who the chef is.
It is important to note that the choice between active and passive voice depends on the context, intended emphasis, and clarity of the sentence. Active voice is generally preferred for most writing situations as it tends to be more concise and direct. However, passive voice can be useful in specific cases where the receiver of the action is more important or when the doer is unknown or less relevant.
Direct and Indirect Narration / Speech
Direct and indirect narration, also known as direct and indirect speech or reported speech, involves conveying someone else’s words or thoughts in writing or speech. Direct narration presents the original words or thoughts directly, while indirect narration reports or retells those words or thoughts indirectly, often with changes to pronouns, verb tenses, and word order. Here’s a detailed explanation of direct and indirect narration with examples:
Direct narration represents the original words or thoughts of a speaker or writer without any alterations. It often appears within quotation marks.
Direct: “I am going to the store,” he said.
In this direct speech, the exact words spoken by the person are enclosed in quotation marks (“I am going to the store”), attributing them to the speaker (“he said”).
Indirect narration reports or retells the original words or thoughts using reporting verbs and without the use of quotation marks. It often involves changes to pronouns, verb tenses, and word order to conform to the reporting clause.
Direct: “I am going to the store,” he said.
Indirect: He said that he was going to the store.
In this indirect speech, the original words (“I am going to the store”) are reported indirectly using the reporting verb “said” and changes are made to pronouns (he instead of I) and verb tense (was going instead of am going).
Changes in Indirect Narration:
Several changes occur when transforming direct speech into indirect speech. Here are the main changes that take place:
– First-person pronouns (I, we) usually change to third-person pronouns (he, she, they) to reflect the perspective of the reporting speaker.
– Second-person pronouns (you) may change to third-person pronouns or remain the same, depending on the context.
Direct: “I love this book,” she said.
Indirect: She said that she loved that book.
Here, the first-person pronoun “I” changes to the third-person pronoun “she” in the indirect narration.
- Verb Tenses:
– Verb tenses often shift back to one tense when moving from direct to indirect speech.
– Present tense changes to past tense, and past tense changes to past perfect tense.
Direct: “I will come tomorrow,” he said.
Indirect: He said that he would come the next day.
In this example, the future tense “will come” changes to “would come” in the indirect narration.
- Adverbs of Time and Place:
– Adverbs of time and place may undergo changes to reflect the time or place relative to the reporting clause.
Direct: “I saw her here yesterday,” he said.
Indirect: He said that he had seen her there the day before.
In this instance, the adverb “here” changes to “there” in the indirect speech, and “yesterday” changes to “the day before.”
- Reporting Verbs:
– Reporting verbs (e.g., say, tell, ask) are used to introduce indirect speech.
– Different reporting verbs can indicate variations in meaning or intention.
Direct: “Please help me,” she said.
Indirect: She requested assistance.
Here, the reporting verb “said” changes to “requested” in the indirect speech, reflecting a more formal or polite tone.
It is important to note that these changes are not exhaustive and may vary depending on the specific context, verb tense, and reporting clause. Consistency in tense, pronoun usage, and word order is crucial in indirect narration to accurately convey the original speech or thoughts in a transformed form.
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