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G26 Using They Active Voice

Lesson Twenty-six

using "they" in the active voice

To avoid the passive voice, a sentence can begin with the pronoun "they." This is especially useful when you don’t know who "they" are:

passive voice: A new stadium is being built downtown.

active voice: They’re building a new stadium.

Who are they? We don’t know, but it might not make much of a difference at the moment the sentence is created. The important parts of the sentence are present: Someone is building a new stadium, or a company is building a new stadium, or construction workers are building a new stadium. The word "they" can represent one or more people.

In this lesson, you’ll practice converting the passive voice to the active voice. Use "they" at the beginning of each sentence or question.

Here are some examples:

passive voice:

1. A parking ramp is being built.

construction project

active voice:

2. They’re building a new parking ramp.

The first sentence is in the present continuous tense and in the passive voice. The second sentence is also in the present continuous tense, but it’s in the active voice and the subject is "they." Who are "they"? We don’t know exactly. The word "they" can represent several different things:

  • a government agency
  • a company or corporation
  • a group of people
  • an individual (Someone we can’t see.)

Let’s look at the next example.

passive voice:

1. Oil rigs can be built anywhere in the world, even in the ocean.

active voice:

2. They build oil rigs anywhere in the world, even in the ocean.

Both of these sentences are in the present tense.

Who are "they"?

The word "they" would represent any company that builds an oil rig. It’s not necessary to name the company or say that it is an oil company.

Now let’s practice.


passive voice:

1. The criminals were arrested.

active voice:

2. ________________.

How did you change the sentence?

Write your answers by hand.   

Directions: Change each sentence from the passive voice to the active voice. Use "they" as the subject. (Answers are below.)

1. I was overcharged.


2. Bob’s car was fixed.


3. Our street is plowed whenever it snows.


4. He was given the wrong information.


5. People can be sent to the moon.



Next: Lesson Twenty-seven

stative passive verbs


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