Passive Voice

Most of all we use the active voice in our everyday speech and writing. But sometimes there are cases when we need to use the passive voice or we want to use it for some special purpose.

Usage of the Passive Voice

We use the passive in these cases:

  • when we do not know the person who performs the action or they are simply unimportant. Also, it can be obvious to us from the context.

My purse was stolen. (I don't know who did it)

  • when we want to emphasise the role of the agent we use the passive. 

The novel was written by a sporstman and was a success. 

  • when the action is more interesting to us.

The new stadium is being built.

  • we use the passive to make our statements more polite and formal.

The letter was written incorrectly. (it is more polite to say this way rather than to name the author of the letter)

Passive Voice Construction

The Passive Voice is formed according to this grammatical construction:

to be + past participle

It is important to remember about tenses because we change the construction according to the context.

And another important thing is that we use only transitive verbs in the passive. These verbs take an object, in case you forgot ;)

So, here is the table that will help you learn to form the passive 👇



  Active Voice Passive Voice
Present Simple They clean the flat every day. The flat is cleaned every day.
Present Continuous They are cleaning the flat now. The flat is being cleaned now.
Past Simple They cleaned the flat. The flat was cleaned.
Past Continuous They were cleaning the flat. The flat was being cleaned.
Future Simple They will clean the flat. The flat will be cleaned.
Present Perfect They have cleaned the flat. The flat has been cleaned.
Past Perfect They had cleaned the flat. The flat had been cleaned.
Future Perfect They will have cleaned the flat. The flat will have been cleaned.

Please, note that we do not normally use the passive with the Present Perfect Continuous, Future Continuous and Past Perfect Continuous. 

See also:

Take a quiz 🔥

Choose a proper form of the Passive Voice

1 / 10
'Romeo and Juliet' is a tragedy that ____ ____ by William Shakespeare between 1591-1595.
was written
was wrote
is written
was being written
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