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Is it possible to use active voice, if we don't want to mention the subject. For example: Is it possible to convert "The room was cleaned " as an active voice statement

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To turn your sentence into an active voice you need to introduce a grammatical subject. If you do not want to name the subject you can use "someone". "Someone cleaned the room". – Laure Jan 27 '14 at 8:21
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Rule for Passive-to-Active:

The passive-voice sentence must have a direct subject.


"The letter was being mailed by Marylin" -> "Marylin was mailing the letter", as Marylin is the direct subject in the passive-voice sentence.


"The room was being cleaned" cannot be converted to an active voice as there is no direct subject.

Rule for Active-to-Passive:

The active-voice sentence must have a direct object.


"The man is eating burgers." -> "Burgers are being eaten by the man", as Burger is the direct object in the active-voice sentence.


"Parrots live in the rainforest" cannot be converted to a passive voice as there is no direct object.

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What about "The rainforest is populated (lived in) by parrots" ? – Laure Jan 27 '14 at 8:37
You can turn OP's sentence into the passive by introducing a dummy grammatical subject : "Someone cleaned the room" is correct and answers the purpose of not expressing the real subject. – Laure Jan 27 '14 at 8:41
@Laure: I agree with your suggestions. But my answer is based on the assumption that OP wants to change the voice of the sentence without changing the semantics of it in any way (or to simplify it, by using the exact same words and subjects/objects). By introducing "a dummy object" (someone) or replacing a word by another (eg. 'live' by 'populated') does changes the meaning of sentence. – kmdhrm Jan 27 '14 at 9:57
There are a few grammatical mistakes in the given examples that may confuse users (like the OP). I've put in an edit to at least make it passable, but am concerned about altering the meaning to make more edits. I'd suggest reviewing your answer to make sure the grammar cannot be further improved. – Doc Jan 27 '14 at 15:07
@Doc: your edit approved. – kmdhrm Jan 27 '14 at 15:18

To turn your sentence into an active voice you need to introduce a grammatical subject. If you do not want to name the subject you can use a dummy subject such as "someone".

Someone cleaned the room.

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Also called as indefinite pronoun. – Ustanak Nov 22 '15 at 13:05

No, you can't.

Here are a couple examples of short passives from A Student's Introduction to English Grammar, p.243:

Passive: Mistakes were made.
Active: *Made mistakes.

Passive: Your car was damaged.
Active: *Damaged your car.

The passive allows you to avoid saying who made mistakes or who damaged the listener's car.
The active does not; it requires a main clause subject, so the active counterparts are ungrammatical.

You can, of course, come up with a similar-looking sentence with the same meaning by supplying a grammatical subject (as in Laure's answer), but then you no longer have an active voice counterpart; you have a slightly different sentence.

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