Changing an imperative sentence in the active voice to passive

February 16, 2011pdf

An imperative sentence in the passive voice has the following form: Let + object + be + past participle.

  • Active: Carry it home.
  • Passive: Let it be carried home.
  • Active: Do it at once.
  • Passive: Let it be done at once.
  • Active: Open the door.
  • Passive: Let the door be opened.
  • Active: Throw the ball.
  • Passive: Let the ball be thrown.

When the active voice is in the negative, the passive voice takes the form: Let + object + not + be + past participle.

  • Active: Do not beat the dog.
  • Passive: Let the dog not be beaten.

Note that do is not used in the passive form.

We can begin the passive sentence with you if we want to put emphasis on the person addressed to.

Compare:

  • Active: Help me.
  • Passive: Let me be helped.
  • Passive: You are requested to help me.
  • Active: Learn the poem.
  • Passive: Let the poem be learned.
  • Passive: You are asked to learn the poem.
  • Active: Don’t touch it.
  • Passive: Let it not be touched.
  • Passive: You are warned not to touch it.

Note that the passive form has to begin with you when the object of the active verb is not mentioned.

  • Active: Work hard.

Here the active verb does not have an object. Therefore the passive form should begin with you.

  • Passive: You are advised to work hard.
  • Active: Get out.
  • Passive: You are ordered to get out.
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