Voice (grammar)

grammatical category for verbs

Voice in grammar expresses the way the action (or state) that the verb expresses relates to the subject or object.[1]

In English grammar, there are two voices: active and passive. When a clause is in the active voice, the subject is the doer of the action. When a clause is in the passive voice, the subject is the receiver of the action. The active voice is much more commonly used than the passive voice.

  • Active voice: Jane chose the furniture.
  • Passive voice: The furniture was chosen by Jane.

This example shows how the word order changes the emphasis of the sentence. The first clearly answers the question "Who chose the furniture?" The second is more of an incidental comment.

The active voice is usually easier to say, and easier to understand than the passive voice. When a person learns a language, it is learnt first, and uses fewer words than the passive voice. Therefore, given an equal choice, the active voice is usually chosen.


  1. "Voice | grammar". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-05-11.