The following sentence is in the active voice: "Do not smoke."

What is its equivalent in the passive voice?

1- Let the smoke not be done.


2- Smoking is prohibited.

  • 5
    Active = He smokes cigars. Passive: Cigars are smoked by him. Do not smoke is not active voice. It's an imperative: Do this or Don't do that.
    – Lambie
    Jan 20, 2017 at 18:10
  • 5
    @Lambie Correct me if I'm wrong, but imperatives have voice too, and "do not smoke" is definitely active. "Do not be deceived" is a passive imperative.
    – brianpck
    Jan 20, 2017 at 21:26
  • If you are trying to make a sign, it is common to see signs that say "No smoking" or "This is a smoke free facility."
    – Moby Disk
    Jan 20, 2017 at 21:42
  • @brianpck - But is that really passive? "Do not be" is exactly the same structure as "Do not smoke".
    – stangdon
    Jan 20, 2017 at 22:09
  • 2
    "Dear cigars, please do not be smoked" Jan 20, 2017 at 22:45

2 Answers 2


"Smoking is prohibited" is a very common formulation, e.g.

  • "Lihue Airport is a no smoking facility. Smoking is prohibited from "cabin to curb” at the airport." (Lihue Airport)
  • Smoking is prohibited in public places in X.
  • Places where smoking is prohibited include: (...).

Note that this is not a passive version of "Do not smoke", since this sentence cannot be transformed into the passive voice. It is an imperative form that has neither an explicit subject, nor an explicit direct object.


The form "Do not be smoked" (from a comment by Colin Fine) is unusual and would not be addressed to a smoker but to something that would undergo the act of smoking.

  • 3
    There is a passive - "Do not be smoked" - but it has a completely different meaning, since it is addressed to the cigarette etc, not to the smoker.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:10
  • 2
    It would be a little weird if it was addressed to the smoker.
    – lsd
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:46
  • 3
    Even weirder if addressed to the cigarette.
    – TimR
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:47
  • Just to add something else you'll see frequently, "No Smoking" is very common sign you'll see at businesses, schools, etc. In america at least Jan 20, 2017 at 20:09
  • 2
    Do not smoke is an imperative.
    – Lambie
    Jan 20, 2017 at 20:42

Quite simply the passive is:

Do not be smoked.

Remember that passive reverses the roles of object and subject. You are no longer the one doing the smoking in passive voice.

To use @brianpck's example from his comment, "do not be deceived" implies that someone is potentially deceiving you, while it's active counterpart, "do not deceive" implies that you are potentially deceiving someone else.

If you want to preserve the meaning then you would have to expose the implied direct object (and imply the subject), but an imperative statement is necessarily directed at the second person (usually not an inanimate object), so it's not really possible.

The best you could do is look at that cigar square in the face and tell it:

"Hey cigar, do not be smoked"

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