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I need help with this exercise about active voice. Says Change each sentence to the active voice. Use the by phrase as the subject For example:

  • Drivers were warned (by the sign) not to exceed 30 mph.
  • The sign warned drivers not to exceed 30 mph.

Passengers are allowed (by the airline) to check one bag for free.
__________________________________ one bag for free.

My answer was

The airline allowed passengers to check one bag for free.

However system told me was wrong. Can you please tell me why?

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There is a difference of tense between the given passive and your answer:

Passengers are allowed (by the airline) to check one bag for free.

This is present tense, so the system expects the active sentence also to be in the present tense

The airline allows...

Apart from that, your active sentence is grammatically correct. Just in a different tense.

  • It looks like the OP's version would have been correct had the first sentence said, "Passengers were allowed to check one bag for free." – J.R. Feb 10 at 11:26
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The key here is to identify the verb (or "doing word") in each sentence. To switch to the active voice, the noun in ("by the") brackets must perform the verb in the sentence. So, in your example from the comments:

Drivers were warned (by the sign) not to exceed 30mph.

The noun in brackets is the sign. What did the sign do? The sign warned. So from that, you can deduce:

The sign warned drivers not to exceed 30mph.

The next one, the noun in brackets is airline. What did the airline do? The airline allowed.

You should be able to work out the word order from that and maintain the past/present tenses in the original examples.

  • Hi Pam, thank you for the explanation. I followed your advice and I write this, Passengers are allowed (by the airline) to check one bag for free. The airline allowed passengers to check one bag for free. However system told me was wrong. Can you please tell me why? – user89579 Feb 9 at 20:50
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    This is wrong in two respects. First, while in the particular verbs used ("allow" and "warn", the past has the same form as the past participle, they are sometimes different, and this rule will not work. If it said "The bags were taken by the handlers", this answer would lead to "the handlers taken", which is wrong - it would be "the handlers took". Secondly, what the OP is having difficlty with is not the pp, but the tense of the auxiliary "are", which is present. "Allowed" is past. -1 – Colin Fine Feb 9 at 23:03

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