In every language, the structure of sentences can vary based on how the action is portrayed. The two main ways to construct sentences based on the action’s direction are active voice and passive voice. This article provides an overview of both active and passive voice in Spanish, demonstrating their use with examples.
Active voice is the most common sentence structure in both English and Spanish. In an active sentence, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb. The structure is:
Subject + Verb + Direct Object
- “Juan come una manzana.” (Juan eats an apple.)
Here, Juan is the subject, “come” (eats) is the verb, and “una manzana” (an apple) is the direct object. Juan is performing the action.
Passive voice sentences in Spanish are structured differently. In a passive sentence, the subject is acted upon by the verb. The structure is:
Subject + Ser (in the appropriate tense) + Past Participle + Por + Agent
- “La manzana es comida por Juan.” (The apple is eaten by Juan.)
In this sentence, “La manzana” (The apple) is the subject, “es” (is) comes from the verb ser, “comida” (eaten) is the past participle of the verb comer, “por” (by) introduces the agent, and “Juan” is the agent.
Passive Voice with ‘Se’
In Spanish, there’s another common form of the passive voice known as the ‘se’ form, or reflexive passive voice. This form is widely used in spoken and written Spanish.
The structure is:
Se + Verb (in the third person) + Subject
- “Se vendieron las entradas.” (The tickets were sold.)
In this case, the agent of the action is not mentioned, which is common in the ‘se’ form of passive voice.
In conclusion, understanding the active and passive voice in Spanish not only broadens your sentence structure options but also allows for more expressive and diverse communication. Practicing both active and passive forms is key to achieving proficiency in Spanish.
Check out our series of Complete Spanish Grammar articles – everything you’ll ever need to know about Spanish grammar.
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