Active voice is a grammatical voice common in many of the world's languages. It is the unmarked voice for clauses featuring a transitive verb in nominative–accusative languages, including English and most other Indo-European languages.
Active voice is used in a clause whose subject expresses the main verb's agent. That is, the subject does the verb's designated action. A clause whose agent is marked as grammatical subject is called an active clause. In contrast, a clause in which the subject has the role of patient or theme is named a passive clause, and its verb is expressed in passive voice. Many languages have both an active and a passive voice; this allows for greater flexibility in sentence construction, as either the semantic agent or patient may take the subject syntactic role.
In the following examples the active and passive voice are illustrated with pairs of sentences using the same transitive verb.
|Language||Active voice||Passive voice|
|English||The dog bit the postal carrier.||The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.|
|Arabic||عَضّ الكلبُ ساعي البريد. (The dog bit the postman.)
'eَd alklbu sa'ey albryd
|عُضّ ساعي البريد بواسطة الكلب. (The postal carrier was bitten by the dog.)
'eud sa'ey albryd bwasth alklb
|French||Brackett a écrit ce livre. (Brackett has written this book.)||Ce livre a été écrit par Brackett. (This book has been written by Brackett.)|
|German||Der Hund biss den Postboten. (The dog bit the postman.)||Der Postbote wurde vom Hund gebissen. (The postman was bitten by the dog.)|
|Japanese||犬がかんだ。 (A dog bit [someone].)
|犬にかまれた。 (By a dog [I] was bitten.)
|Polish||Pies ugryzł listonosza. (The dog bit the postman.)||Listonosz został ugryziony przez psa. (The postman was bitten by the dog.)|
|Spanish||La policía detuvo el tráfico. (The police stopped the traffic.)||El tráfico fue detenido por la policía. (The traffic was stopped by the police.)|
|Swedish||Tjänaren bär vinet. (The servant carries the wine.)||Vinet bärs av tjänaren. (The wine is carried by the servant.)|