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Active and passive voice


A lesson explaining the difference between active and passive voice and how to change from one to the other.


  • Students will be able to explain the differences between active and passive voice.
  • Students will be able to explain the reasons active voice is often preferable to passive voice.
  • Students will be able to change passive voice to active voice.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.1.B Form and use verbs in the active and passive voice.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 9–10 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)


50 minutes


Slideshow: Active & passive voice

Active vs. passive voice: Set 1 and key

Active vs. passive voice: Set 2 and key

Active vs. passive voice: Set 3 and key

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Introduce active and passive voice using the slideshow. Share examples and discuss the effect active voice has on sentence clarity.

2. Practice and assessment — 30 minutes and/or take-home activity

Use the three sets of exercises to practice and evaluate students’ proficiency at identifying and using passive and active voice. Set 3 would make a suitable end-of-lesson assessment. It asks students to identify whether or not a sentence is active or passive and make corrections as needed.