Active voice

Active voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. It is the unmarked voice for clauses featuring a transitive verb in nominative–accusative languages, including English and most other Indo-European languages. A verb in such languages is usually in the active voice when the subject of the verb performs the action named.

Active voice is used in a clause whose subject expresses the main verb's agent. That is, the subject does the verb's designated action.[1] A clause whose agent is marked as grammatical subject is called an active clause. In contrast, a clause in which the subject has the role of patient or theme is named a passive clause, and its verb is expressed in passive voice. Many languages have both an active and a passive voice and this allows for greater flexibility in sentence construction, as either the semantic agent or patient may take the subject syntactic role.[2]

In a clause including an impersonal verb, the verb is active in form, but no agent is specified.

ExamplesEdit

In the following examples, the active and passive voice are illustrated with pairs of sentences using the same transitive verb.

Language Active voice Passive voice
Afrikaans

Die

hond

het

die

posbode

gebyt

Die hond het die posbode gebyt

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Die

posbode

is

deur

die

hond

gebyt

Die posbode is deur die hond gebyt

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

English The dog bit the postal carrier. The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.
Dutch

De

hond

beet

de

postbezorger

De hond beet de postbezorger

The dog bit the postal carrier.

De

postbezorger

werd

gebeten

door

de

hond

De postbezorger werd gebeten door de hond

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Arabic

عَضّ

'ad

الكلبُ

alkalbu

ساعي

sa'eya

البريد

albareed

عَضّ الكلبُ ساعي البريد

'ad alkalbu sa'eya albareed

The dog bit the postal carrier.

عُضّ

'oud

ساعي

sa'eya

البريد

albareed

بواسطة

biwasitat

الكلب

alkalb

عُضّ ساعي البريد بواسطة الكلب

'oud sa'eya albareed biwasitat alkalb

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Finnish

Koira

puri

postimiestä

Koira puri postimiestä

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Postimiestä

puri

koira

Postimiestä puri koira

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

French

Le

chien

a

mordu

le

facteur

Le chien a mordu le facteur

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Le

facteur

a

été

mordu

par

le

chien

Le facteur a été mordu par le chien

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

German

Der

Hund

biss

den

Postboten

Der Hund biss den Postboten

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Der

Postbote

wurde

vom

Hund

gebissen

Der Postbote wurde vom Hund gebissen

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Italian

Il

cane

ha

morso

il

postino

Il cane ha morso il postino

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Il

postino

è

stato

morso

dal

cane

Il postino è stato morso dal cane

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Latin

Canis

epistulārium

momordit

Canis epistulārium momordit

The dog bit the postman.

Epistulārius

a

cane

morsum

erat

Epistulārius a cane morsum erat

The postman was bitten by the dog.

Korean

개가

gaega

우편집배원을

upyeonjibbaewon-eul

물었다

mul-eossda

개가 우편집배원을 물었다

gaega upyeonjibbaewon-eul mul-eossda

A dog bit the postal carrier.

우편집배원은

upyeonjibbaewon-eun

개에게

gaeege

물렸다

mullyeossda

우편집배원은 개에게 물렸다

upyeonjibbaewon-eun gaeege mullyeossda

The postal carrier was bitten by a dog.

Japanese

犬が

Inu-ga

かんだ。

kanda

犬が かんだ。

Inu-ga kanda

A dog bit [someone].

犬に

Inu-ni

かまれた。

kamareta

犬に かまれた。

Inu-ni kamareta

By a dog [someone] was bitten.

Chinese

Gǒu

咬了

yǎole

邮递员。

yóudìyuán

狗 咬了 邮递员。

Gǒu yǎole yóudìyuán

The dog bit the postal carrier.

邮递员

Yóudìyuán

bèi

gǒu

咬了。

yǎole

邮递员 被 狗 咬了。

Yóudìyuán bèi gǒu yǎole

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Slovak

Pes

uhryzol

poštara.

Pes uhryzol poštara.

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Poštár

bol

uhryznutý

psom.

Poštár bol uhryznutý psom.

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Polish

Pies

ugryzł

listonosza

Pies ugryzł listonosza

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Listonosz

został

ugryziony

przez

psa

Listonosz został ugryziony przez psa

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Spanish

El

perro

mordió

al

cartero

El perro mordió al cartero

The dog bit the postal carrier.

El

cartero

fue

mordido

por

el

perro

El cartero fue mordido por el perro

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Swahili

Mbwa

aliuma

tarishi

Mbwa aliuma tarishi

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Tarishi

aliumwa

na

mbwa

Tarishi aliumwa na mbwa

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Swedish

Hunden

bet

brevbäraren

Hunden bet brevbäraren

The dog bit the postal carrier.

Brevbäraren

blev

biten

av

hunden

Brevbäraren blev biten av hunden

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Telugu

కుక్క

'kukka

పోస్టల్

postal

క్యారియర్ని

carrierni

కరిచింది

karichindi

కుక్క పోస్టల్ క్యారియర్ని కరిచింది

'kukka postal carrierni karichindi

The dog bit the postal carrier.

పోస్టల్

postal

క్యారియర్

carrier

కుక్క

kukka

చేత

cheta

కరవబడింది

karavabadindi

పోస్టల్ క్యారియర్ కుక్క చేత కరవబడింది

postal carrier kukka cheta karavabadindi

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

Thai

หมา

H̄mā

กัด

kạd

บุรุษ

burus̄ʹ

ไปรษณีย์

pịrs̄ʹṇīy̒

หมา กัด บุรุษ ไปรษณีย์

H̄mā kạd burus̄ʹ pịrs̄ʹṇīy̒

The dog bit the postal carrier.

บุรุษ

Burus̄ʹ

ไปรษณีย์

pịrs̄ʹṇīy̒

ถูก

t̄hūk

หมา

h̄mā

กัด

kạd

บุรุษ ไปรษณีย์ ถูก หมา กัด

Burus̄ʹ pịrs̄ʹṇīy̒ t̄hūk h̄mā kạd

The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ O'Grady, William, John Archibald, Mark Aronoff, and Janie Rees-Miller (eds.) (2001). Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction Fourth edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN 0-312-24738-9
  2. ^ Saeed, John (1997). Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-20035-5