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Passive Voice - English Grammar

Passive Voice Active and passive forms in the most common tenses Active sentence - Passive sentence (two objects) by-agent How to form the passive Passive sentences Personal Passive - Impersonal Passive Verbs with prepositions in Passive

Active - Passive
Passive - Explanations Summary Active - Passive (Sample word) Active - Passive (Sample sentence) by-agent Active sentence - Passive sentence (two objects) Verbs with prepositions in Passive Personal Passive - Impersonal Passive Exercises - Passive voice We have listed active and passive forms in the following table. We used the phrase I drive and have put this phrase into most common tenses. Active (Simple Forms) Simple Present Simple Past Present Perfect Past Perfect will-future Future Perfect Conditional I Conditional II Active (Progressive/Continuous Forms) Simple Present Simple Past Present Perfect Past Perfect will-future I am driving I was driving I have been driving I had been driving I will be driving I drive I drove I have driven I had driven I will drive I will have driven I would drive I would have driven

Future Perfect Conditional I Conditional II Passive (Simple Forms) Simple Present Simple Past Present Perfect Past Perfect will-future Future Perfect Conditional I Conditional II Passive (Progressive/Continuous Forms) Present Past Present Perfect Past Perfect Future Future Perfect Conditional I Conditional II

I will have been driving I would be driving I would have been driving

I am driven I was driven I have been driven I had been driven I will be driven I will have been driven I would be driven I would have been driven

I am being driven I was being driven I have been being driven I had been being driven I will be being driven I will have been being driven I would be being driven I would have been being driven

Tenses which are rarely used in everyday conversation.

Passive - Use
We only use the passive when we are interested in the object or when we do not know who caused the action. Example: Appointments are required in such cases. We can only form a passive sentence from an active sentence when there is an object in the active sentence.

Form
to be + past participle

How to form a passive sentence when an active sentence is given: - object of the "active" sentence becomes subject in the "passive" sentence - subject of the "active" sentence becomes "object" in the "passive" sentence" (or is left out) Active: Peter builds a house.

Passive:

A house

is built

by Peter.

Examples
Active Peter builds a house. Simple Present Passive: A house is built by Peter.

Active:

Peter

built

a house. Simple Past

Passive:

A house

was built

by Peter.

Active:

Peter

has built

a house. Present Perfect

Passive:

A house

has been built

by Peter.

Active:

Peter

will build

a house. will-future

Passive:

A house

will be built

by Peter.

Active:

Peter

can build

a house. Modals

Passive:

A house

can be built

by Peter

Here you will find some examples of how to form the passive depending on the tense. tense Simple Present active Peter builds a house. passive A house is built by Peter.

Simple Past Present Perfect Past Perfect will-future going to-future

Peter built a house. Peter has built a house. Peter had built a house. Peter will build a house. Peter is going to build a house in summer.

A house was built by Peter. A house has been built by Peter. A house had been built by Peter. A house will be built by Peter. A house is going to be built in summer by Peter.

Passive sentences with by


We are normally not interested in the "doer" of an action in a passive sentence. When we want to mention the "doer", we use the preposition by. The whole phrase is called by-agent in English. Active sentence Mr Brown built the house. Passive sentence The house was built by Mr Brown.

When we do not know, who was the "doer" of the action, we use someone or somebody in the active sentence. We leave out these words in the passive sentence. Active sentence Someone stole my bike. Passive sentence My bike was stolen

Active sentences with two objects in passive


When there are two objects in an active sentence, there are two possible active sentences and two possible passive sentences. possibility 1: The professor explained the students the exercise. possibility 2: The professor explained the exercise to the students. There are two objects in each of the following sentences: object 1 = indirect object: the students object 2 = direct object: the exercise An indirect object is very often a person, a direct object a thing. When a direct object is followed by an indirect one, we put to in front of the indirect object. active sentence - possibility 1 subject The professor verb explained indirect object the students direct object the exercise.

active sentence - possibility 2

subject The professor

verb explained

direct object the exercise

indirect object to the students.

Each of the objects (direct and indirect) can be the subject in the passive sentence. passive sentence - possibility 1 subject The students verb were explained object the exercise. (by-agent) (by the professor).

passive sentence - possibility 2 subject The exercise verb was explained object to the students (by-agent) (by the professor).

Possibility 1 is sometimes called Personal passive.

Verbs with prepositions in passive


When we put an active sentence, where a preposition follows after the verb (e.g. break into, look after), into passive - the preposition remains immediately after the verb. Active sentence Someone broke into the pet shop. Passive sentence The pet shop was broken into

1) Personal Passive
When we put an object of an active sentence into passive, it becomes subject of the passive sentence. Active voice: The professor explained the students the exercise. The professor explained the exercise to the students. Passive voice: The students were explained the exercise. The exercise was explained to the students. We sometimes use a pronoun for "the students" or "the exercise" in its subject form (here: they/it). Passive voice: They were explained the exercise. It was explained to the students. We very often leave out the by-agent in the passive sentence (here: by the professor).

2) Impersonal Passive - It is said ...


The phrase It is said ... is an impersonal passive construction. We often use it in news. Passive sentence - version 1: It is said that children are afraid of ghosts. Passive sentence - version 2: Children are said to be afraid of ghosts. The correct active sentence would be: Active sentence: People say that children are afraid of ghosts. Rewrite the sentences using Passive voice. Example: Peter writes a letter. _________________ Answer: A letter is written. or A letter is written by Peter.

1) Julia rescued three cats. . 2) The students handed in the reports. . 3) Maria crashed into the blue car. . 4) Alex learned the poem. . 5) Steven has forgotten the book. . 6) The mechanic has not repaired the DVD recorder. . 7) They play handball. . 8) Sue puts the rucksack on the floor. . 9) The girls had lost the match. . 10) The teacher is not going to open the window. .

Passive sentences in the Simple Past - Exercise


Explanation: Passive

Rewrite the given sentences in Passive voice. Example: Frank built a house. _____________________ Answer: A house was built. or A house was built by Frank.

1) She bought four apples. . 2) We won the match. . 3) The man stole the blue car. . 4) The police arrested the thieves. . 5) Jack swam the 200 metres. . 6) The dog bit the old lady. . 7) Tom and Max ate five hamburgers. . 8) Oliver taught the children. . 9) Victoria rode the brown horse. . 10) Grandmother told good stories. .

Passive - Sentences in the Simple Present - Exercise


Explanation: Passive

Rewrite the given sentences in Passive voice. Example: Frank builds a house. _____________________ Answer: A house is built. or A house is built by Frank.

1) Mr Jones watches the film. . 2) The people speak English. . 3) He reads comics. . 4) We play volleyball. . 5) They sing the song. . 6) I take photos. . 7) She does the housework. . 8) The policemen help the children. . 9) He writes text messages. . 10) Mother waters the flowers. .

Passive sentences with two objects - Exercise


Explanation: Passive

Rewrite the given sentences in Passive voice. Sometimes there are two possible answers (two objects in the active sentence). Do not use contracted/short forms. Example: Tim gave Lisa some flowers. _______________________ Answer: Some flowers were given to Lisa by Tim. or Lisa was given some flowers by Tim.

1) They don't speak English in this shop. . 2) Kevin asked Dennis a question. . 3) Somebody built the house last year. . 4) She gives him a box. . 5) Max will look after him. . 6) The waiter brought Fred a big steak. . 7) Somebody broke into our bungalow last Friday. . 8) The teacher told us a joke. . 9) They will meet Doris at the station. . 10) Michael has not sent me a text message. .

Passive - various tenses - Exercise


Explanation: Passive

Put in the correct form of the verb in Passive into the gaps. Use the verb and the tense given in brackets. Example: A letter __________ by Peter. (to write - Simple Present) Answer: A letter is written by Peter.

1) The words by the teacher today. (to explain - Simple Present) 2) We a letter the day before yesterday. (to send - Simple Past) 3) This car . It's too old. (not/to steal - will-future) 4) This street because of snow. (already/to close - Present Perfect) 5) A new restaurant next week. (to open - will-future) 6) He to the party yesterday. (to invite - Simple Past) 7) The blue box . (can/not/to see - Simple Present) 8) I the book by my friend last Sunday. (to give - Simple Past) 9) The dishes by my little brother. (not/to wash - Present Perfect) 10) I by Robert. (not/to ask - will-future)

Active or Passive? - Exercise 1


Decide whether the sentences are written in Active or Passive. Match all the items on the right with the items on the left, then press "CHECK". Check They listen to music. She is reading an e-mail. These cars are produced in Japan. Alan teaches Geography. German is spoken in Austria. Lots of houses were destroyed by the earthquake. Henry Ford invented the assembly line. The bus driver was hurt. You should open your workbooks. Houses have been built. Check

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