Active to Passive Voice in Task 2

Many countries today are experiencing problems associated with noise pollution (excessive noise above a normal background noise.) What are the causes of this phenomenon, and what effects does it have on the people affected?  

Noise pollution is a less-discussed form of pollution, but one which can have depressing effects on the people concerned. There seem to be two main causes, and a number of effects, which we will discuss here.  

Possibly the main cause is the increased volume of traffic moving through and over our countries, especially the urban areas. The ever-rising use of road vehicles and aircraft leads to high noise levels throughout the day and night, which can be exacerbated by poor levels of sound insulation in homes, schools and other buildings. A further well-known cause is the amount of construction taking place, where roads and other facilities are built in rapid timescales. The use of machinery for this purpose results in decibel levels which can be dangerously high.  

The effects of this problem on people can be quite serious. Firstly, increased stress levels are experienced because of the difficulty in thinking properly with high background noise. This can be especially damaging for children, whose academic performance can be affected in some cases. A further widely-observed impact is lack of sleep, which can be seen in cities which suffer noise pollution, such as London or Moscow. In these cases, local people start work tired and demotivated, which, in the case of workers who need high levels of concentration, can be dangerous for people around them. Finally, there is the long-term impact of depopulation, as people move away from flight paths and busy roads. Properties in these areas are often left derelict, or are taken over by squatters who then live in undesirable conditions.  

Overall, traffic and construction seem to be the main causes, and they affect both individuals and the movement of population in the areas affected.  

Do you notice the italic sentence above?. . . roads and other facilities are built in rapid timescales.

In Academic English, the use of passive structures like this is extremely important. The examiner will look for passives in your essay, and you will not be able to achieve over Band 7 unless you show that you can use them properly. As a general rule, try to use a passive structure at least once in each paragraph of your main body, for every type of essay. It is not a mistake to say ‘companies build roads’ or ‘people build roads’ provided that you also show use of the passive.

What is active and passive voice?

This beautiful girl on your right is Rashmi. Let me use her name to enlighten the concept of active and passive voice in IELTS. There are two different sentences about her divided under active and passive voice. Notice the bold letters, they are the sentence focus.

Rashmi smiling for the photoshoot…

Active VoicePassive Voice
We elected Rashmi for the position.
Who elected Rashmi?
Answer: We.
Rasmi was elected for receptionist. 
Who elected Rashmi? 
Answer: Not mentioned

Active voice is about emphasizing the person/ subject (we) whereas passive is about the action(was elected).

The person who performs an action in a passive sentence is called the agent, introduced by by. The agent may or may not be mentioned.

Writing in the active voice is clearer and more direct. It helps you to convey your meaning more easily. If you use the passive voice, however, your sentences may become too wordy. Wordy sentences often lack focus, causing your readers to have a tough time identifying your point.

However, a way that the passive is specifically needed for IELTS is if you getprocess diagram in Academic IELTS Task 1.

When we describe a process such as this, we are not interested in who does the activity, the “doer”, we are interested in the activity itself.

How to change into passive?

Do this to change active into passive:-

  1. Move the object of the sentence and make it a new subject, 
  2. Use the tense rule given below in the table.
Government built the building (Object). Government built the building (Object).                        

The passive can be used with all tenses. The table below gives examples of the most common forms in the passive:

tenseverb form  example
present simpleam   are ispast participleFinally, the product is delivered to local supermarkets
present continuousam   are is+ being + past participleThat cathedral is being repaired as we speak. 
past simplewas   werepast participleA significant increase in sales was witnessed between the years 2000 and 2010.
past continuouswas   were+ being + past participleWe didn’t know, but we were being monitored that day.
present perfect simplehave   has+ been + past participlehaven’t been asked to participate in the project.
past perfect simplehad+ been + past participleAn important lesson had been taught
modal simplecan   will might couldmay must+ be + past participleTrophy hunting may be allowed in some countries, but that doesn’t mean that it’s OK.
modal perfect simplecould   must+ have beenThe project could have been cancelled had it not been for him.

When to change active into passive?

It is much more common to use the active than the passive, so you should only use it if there is a specific reason. Below are are the reasons that we use it.

Remember that this is usually a matter of choice for you, depending on the context in which you are writing.

1. When action is more important than the agent

Agent centricAction Centric
The farmer harvested the corn in SeptemberThe corn was harvested in September

2. When agent does not need to be mentioned

With agentwithout agent
The police arrested the burglarThe burglar was arrested

3. When you are writing conclusion for certain genres, such as science reports or for academic journals

Referring to the agentHiding the agent
I can draw several conclusions from the resultsSeveral conclusions can be drawn from the results

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