Active and passive voice

 

In the German language, there are two voices, the active and the passive. The passive voice is more seldom used than the active.

 

Differences: active - passive

 

The active and the passive voice differ primarily in form. The passive voice is formed with the auxiliary verb werden and the past participle (Partizip II) of  a full verb.

 

Examples verb voice
Der Mechaniker repariert den Motor. active
Der Motor wird repariert. passive

 


 

 
The same events can be described with the use of both the active and the passive voice; however, the choice of one voice over the other changes the way these events, as well as their agent, are presented.


In the active voice, the "agent", which is the subject of the sentence, plays a key role.

 

Example verb voice
Der Mechaniker repariert den Motor. active

 

This also applies to sentences where the agent does not act.

 

Examples verb voice
Opa schläft. active
Sie liegt in der Sonne.
Er erhielt eine Einladung.

 

 

On the other hand, in passive voice sentences the "agent" is of little or no importance and is, therefore, usually omitted and not mentioned in the sentence.

 

Examples verb voice "agent"
Der Mechaniker repariert den Motor. active of central meaning
Der Motor wird vom Mechaniker repariert. passive of secondary importance
Der Motor wird repariert. passive not important / not mentioned in the sentence