Verbs are words that confer action (action verbs) or states and relationships (linking verbs). English also has to help (auxiliary) verbs. You know that, right?

Don’t confuse “action” verbs with “active” verbs.

You might believe active verbs are energetic, lively, and descriptive. Passive verbs, on the other hand, must be sedated or boring. Maybe gallop is a more active verb compared to run, and shriek is more active than cry.

That’s a general belief, and some might consider linking verbs as passive verbs. But neither is correct. Identifying passive and active verbs is more complicated and easier at the same time.

  • What Are Active Verbs?

There are a lot of methods to create a sentence, but in many cases, the best way to convey meaning in a concise and clear manner is to use verbs correctly. An active verb is when the verb is the subject, or ‘the doer,’ of the sentence. In active sentences, the thing/person performing the action is the subject of the sentence while what is receiving the action is the object. Most sentences are active.

[Thing/person doing action] + [verb] + [thing receiving the action]

Here are examples:

  • Rosie loves the dog.
  • Belinda wrote the book.
  • The writer fired the editor.
  • Her friend edited the manuscript.
  • The proofreader found typos and punctuation errors.
  • The sentence pattern is like this: subject + verb + direct object
  • Tom the house cleans Once a week
  • Sarah is writing the letter.
  • Sam repaired the car.
  • What Are Passive Verbs

In passive sentences, the person/object receiving the action is the subject of the sentence while what is doing the action is optionally included near the completion of the sentence. The passive is used when the thing/person receiving the action is more important or should be emphasized. The passive form is used if you do not know who/what is doing the action or if you don’t want to mention who/what is doing the action. It is often used in formal sentences. You can also use the passive form if you do not understand who is doing the activity or if you do not want to specify who is performing the action.

[Person/Thing receiving action] + [be] + [past participle of verb] + [by] + [thing doing action]

Here are examples:

  • The plates were cleaned by John.
  • The students are taught by the Headmaster.
  • The customer was being helped (by the salesman) when the thief arrived.
  • The university zoo has been visited by many tourists.
  • The play was written by Shakespeare.
  • The book was written by Einstein.
  • The director was fired by the editor.
  • The manuscript was edited by her uncle.
  • Punctuation and Typos errors were found by the readers.

Active verbs are easy to use in most cases. They’re clear, easy to understand, and concise. But sometimes passive verbs are the best choice when you want the reader to focus on the recipient of the action.

Brought to you by the KidsEnglishCollege™ Editorial Team.

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