ENGLISH GRAMMAR The Passive Voice

THE PASSIVE VOICE
INTRODUCTION
The passive of an active tense is formed by putting the verb to be into the same tense as the active verb
and adding the past participle of the active verb. The subject of the active verb becomes the ‘agent’ of the
passive verb. The agent is very often not mentioned. When it is mentioned it is preceded by by and placed
at the end of the clause.
Active: My grandfather planted this tree.
Passive: This tree was planted by my grandfather.
PASSIVE VERB TENSES
Present Simple
Past Simple
Future Simple
Present Continuous
Past Continuous
Going to
Present Perfect
Past Perfect
Infinitive
Modals
1

ACTIVE VOICE
He delivers the letters.
He delivered the letters.
He will deliver the letters.
He is delivering the letters.
He was delivering the letters.
He is going to deliver the letters.
He has delivered the letters.
He had delivered the letters.
He has to deliver the letters.
He must deliver the letters.
SIMPLE

PRESENT

PAST

CONTINUOUS

PERFECT

+ S + am/is/are + Ptp

S + am/is/are + being + Ptp

S + have/has + been + Ptp

- S + am/is/are + not + Ptp

S + am/is/are + not +being + Ptp

S + have/has + not + been + Ptp

? Am/Is/Are + S + Ptp ?

Am/Is/Are) + S + being + Ptp ?

Have/Has) + S + been + Ptp ?

+ S + was/were + Ptp

S + was/were + being + Ptp

S + had + been + Ptp

- S + was/were + not + Ptp

S + was/were + not + being + Ptp

S + had + not + been + Ptp

? Was/Were + S +PtpV ?

Was/Were + S + being + Ptp?

Had + S + been + Ptp

+ S + will + be + Ptp
FUTURE

PASSIVE VOICE
The letters are delivered.
The letters were delivered.
The letters will be delivered.
The letters are being delivered.
The letters were being delivered.
The letters are going to be delivered.
The letters have been delivered.
The letters had been delivered.
The letters have to be delivered.
The letters must be delivered.

- S + will + not + be + Ptp
? Will + S + be + Ptp ?
+ S + V to be (am/is/are) + going to +
be + Ptp

GOING TO - S + V to be (am/is/are) + not + going
?

to + be + Ptp
V to be (am/is/are) + S + going to +
be + Ptp ?

 we use will for Future Simple questions. to refer to the agent.) 4. when the agent (=the person who does the action) is unknown. – less polite) 3. We usually only refer to the agent when it gives us some important information which otherwise would be missing from the sentence. We don’t mention the agent: 1. if it is easy to understand who did something without it being mentioned. (It is not necessary to mention that he has been arrested by the police because it is self-evident.  we change the main verb of the active voice sentence into the passive voice. The new library will be opened by the Queen. Someone broke the window. The tense remains unchanged. This book was written by Agatha Christie. as in processes. The car hasn’t been cleaned. Agatha Christie wrote this book. to put emphasis on the agent.) 3.) This church was built in 1815. to make more polite or formal statements. . if we are not interested in who has done what we are talking about or it is not important to mention it.  we use the verb have (have/has/had) for Present Perfect and Past Perfect questions. It is placed after the past participle and it is preceded by the preposition by. (We don’t know who stole it) 2. He has been taken to hospital. Past Simple. instructions. (Unimportant agent) He has been arrested. people. they. The murderer was arrested last night. etc. when the action is more important than the agent. Our car was stolen last night. headlines. (Obviously by the police) 2. 30 people were killed in the earthquake. events. USE The Passive is used: 1. unimportant or obvious from the context. Our house was designed by a famous architect. 4. reports. (What we are interested in is the fact that he has been taken to hospital and not who has taken him. ie. Present Continuous. (more polite) (You haven’t cleaned the car. (We don’t know who shot her. if we don’t know who has done what we are talking about. noun (by the teacher) or pronoun (by him) at the end of the sentence. you. Jane was shot. and advertisements. new items. 2 AGENT To say who did the action that we are talking about. Past Continuous and Going To questions. we use the preposition by and the name (by Peter) . if the subject of the active voice sentence is something like somebody. ACTIVE TO PASSIVE To change a sentence from the active voice to the passive voice:  the object of the active voice sentence becomes the subject of the passive voice sentence.  the subject of the active voice sentence becomes the agent of the passive sentence.Short answers To make short answers:  we use the verb to be (am/is/are/was/were) for Present Simple. → The window was broken.

V. When the indirect object is alone after the verb in the passive voice sentence. 2003 . Carling.M. cheese and peppers = the material that was used) DOUBLE OBJECT VERBS When we have verbs that take two objects like. it needs the preposition to. Carling and S. 2003 . by making the indirect (animate) object the subject of the passive voice sentence. bring. 1995 . tell. Longman. Longman. Thomson and A. write.S. Jervis. we use:  by with the agent to refer to by whom the action is being done. etc. object or material that was used for something to be done. (a key = the object that was used) The omelette was made with eggs. A Practical English Grammar. Evans. (Mr Blak = agent)  with to refer to the instrument.A. pay. Leslie SUBJECT took this photograph ACTIVE VERB OBJECT This photograph SUBJECT was taken PASSIVE VERB yesterday. offer. Rick gave me (indirect object) this book (direct object). Grammar Time 6. 1986 . The door was opened by Mr Black. By making the direct (inanimate) object the subject of the passive voice. SUBJECT I You He She It ←→ ←→ ←→ ←→ ←→ OBJECT me you him her it SUBJECT We You They ←→ ←→ ←→ OBJECT us you them BIBLIOGRAPHY . Longman. Grammar Time 4. Round-Up (English Grammar Practice). give somebody something. for example. show. b. 3 This book was given to me by Rick. This book was written by Agatha Christie. The door was opened with a key. (eggs. we can convert the active sentence into a passive one in two ways: a. cheese and peppers. Longman. send. Some of the verbs that take two objects are: give.ENGLISH GRAMMAR The Passive Voice Agatha Christie wrote this book. If the indirect object of the active voice sentence is a personal pronoun it has to be changed into a subject pronoun to be the subject of the passive voice sentence. Oxford University Press. TIME COMPLEMENT by Leslie AGENT yesterday.M. which is also the way that we usually prefer. J. Grammar Time 5. Jervis.V. I was given this book by Rick. 2003 . Martinet. TIME COMPLEMENT BY OR WITH? In the passive voice.

Fiat 3_________________ (started/was started) making cars at a new factory at Lingotto. This song ________________________ (not write) by John Lennon. Complete the sentences with the correct passive form of the verbs in brackets. When _______________________________ (this bridge/build)? 3. a. a. Someone painted the office last week. c. ______________________________ (the building/use) any more? d. i. When ______________________________ (tennis/invent)? f. h.000 vehicles. Today. In 1903. My car ______________________ (repair) last week. Where ______________________________ (this pot/make)? i. The film ________________________ (make) ten years ago. Change the following sentences into passive sentences using the words in brackets. 4. Where do they make these video recorders? (Where/these video recorders/make) _________________________________________________________________________________ . Several people saw the accident. In 1920. His travel expenses ________________________ (not pay) by his company. Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb. ________________________________ (the phone/answer) by a young girl? d. (The office/paint/last week) _________________________________________________________________________________ d. h. How _______________________ (your name/spell)? f. (Tickets for all shows/sell/at the Box Office) _________________________________________________________________________________ b. g. c. FIAT Fiat 0 was started (started/was started) by a group of Italian businessmen in 1899. 4 2. Use the Present Simple. a. Complete the sentences with the correct passive form of the verbs in brackets. English ____________________ (speak) in many countries. The company grew. Fiat. The car ________________________ (not damaged) in the accident. Fiat is based in Turin. 1 _________________ (produced/was produced) 132 cars. b. In 1936. We sell tickets for all shows at the Box Office. Choose the correct form of the verbs in brackets. near Turin. This car 5____________________ (called/was called) the Topolino – the Italian name for Mickey Mouse. (The accident/see/by several people) _________________________________________________________________________________ e. e. The name of the people who committed the crime _____________________ (not know). There was a track on the roof where the cars 4____________________ (tested/were tested) by technicians. My salary _____________________ (pay) every month. Some of these cars 2 _____________________ (exported/were exported) by the company to the United States and Britain.EXERCISES 1. The original building _________________________ (pull) down in 1965. and in 1963 Fiat 6 _____________________ (exported/was exported) more than 300. g. b. Fiat launched the Fiat 500. These cars _________________________ (not make) in Japan. (The electric light bulb/invent/by Thomas Edison) _________________________________________________________________________________ c. How often ______________________________ (the Olympic Games(hold)? e. and its cars 7_________________ (sold/are sold) all over the world. Use the Past Simple. The post ______________________ (deliver) at about 7 o’clock every morning.

Paper is made from wood. This picture was painted by Peter. h. Mary invited Paul to her birthday party. _________________________________________________________________________________ b. _________________________________________________________________________________ e. Rewrite these sentences in the passive voice. A thief stole my purse. Rewrite these sentences in the passive voice. Someone stole Jim’s bike lat night. One of the students broke the window. _________________________________________________________________________________ b. a. They make coffee in Brazil. Someone built this house 200 years ago. British astronomers discovered a new planet. _________________________________________________________________________________ d. 5 _________________________________________________________________________________ e. They will build a new bridge next year. The telephone was invented by Mr Bell. Champagne is made in France. Form the question. They produce cars in this factory. _________________________________________________________________________________ 6. _________________________________________________________________________________ h. Is paper made from wood ? ___________________________________________? ___________________________________________? ___________________________________________? ___________________________________________? ___________________________________________? ___________________________________________? ___________________________________________? . b. a. _________________________________________________________________________________ g. c. They serve breakfast at eight o’clock every day. The police will arrest the robbers. _________________________________________________________________________________ c. The thieves will be arrested by the police. They will deliver my computer on Monday.ENGLISH GRAMMAR The Passive Voice 5. a. _________________________________________________________________________________ c. _________________________________________________________________________________ h. g. d. _________________________________________________________________________________ g. Pierre Matie will design her costume. The letters will be sent next week. f. _________________________________________________________________________________ f. _________________________________________________________________________________ d. Someone found my wallet. e. The animals are fed three times a day. This article was written by Stanley. Brian Brody directed The Ultimate Space Adventure. _________________________________________________________________________________ f. People throw away tones of rubbish every day. _________________________________________________________________________________ 7.

English _____________________ (speak) all over the world. h. c. Some children saw the thief. Lunch _____________________ (serve) at twelve o’clock. g. This programme _______________________ (watch) by millions of people. Books _____________________ (write) by authors. One man _____________________ (catch) immediately. _________________________________________________________________________________ c. _________________________________________________________________________________ f. The first hot dog / eat / in the 1860s. j. The first CDs / sell / in the 1980s. The toothbrush / invent / in the 15th century. e. The party was organised by Paul. b.i. _________________________________________________________________________________ d. Use Past Simple. _________________________________________________________________________________ b. _________________________________________________________________________________ g. Complete with the passive. Both men _____________________ (take) to the police station where they _________________________ (question) separately by a police officer. Paper __________________________ (make) from wood. _________________________________________________________________________________ 6 9. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ . The biology class _________________________ (teach) by Mr Green. The other escaped. 10. The first electric guitar / play / in 1923. The first computer mouse / use / 1964. The police _____________________ (call) and they arrived very quickly. The police are searching for the bus now. The first public basketball game / play / in 1892. Somebody has stolen a bus from outside the school. a. CDs are made of plastic. Hundreds of people _______________________ (kill) in accidents every year. f. _________________________________________________________________________________ h. Use Present Simple. _________________________________________________________________________________ e. Rewrite the following passage in the Passive. The first eyeglasses / wear / in the 1200s. Put the verbs in brackets into Past Simple Passive. They will use the children’s descriptions to catch the thief. a. but he ______________________ (find) very soon. London __________________________ (visit) by thousands of tourists every year. The two men ________________________ (charge) with burglary. 11. Read and complete. ___________________________________________? ___________________________________________? 8. d. Two men _________________________ (see) breaking into a house in my street last night. The first bicycle / ride in 1791.

Someone has offered him a lot of money for it. Rewrite the following passage in the Passive. He will deliver the painting tomorrow. The police have organized a search for the robber. _______________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ c. Doctors are treating the owner of the shop for shock. People have given photographs of the UFO to the police. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ 14. Rewrite the following passage in the Passive. The owner had just locked up the shop when a robber with a gun threatened him. My uncle painted this picture. The robber told him to unlock the shop and give him all the diamonds in the safe. When they give him the money. He painted it one night while he was sleepwalking! ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ 7 ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ 15. Some people saw a UFO in the sky above London last night. Someone broke into a local jewellery shop yesterday. They reported it to the police. he will tell them the truth. ___________________________________________________ . The students must include pictures and drawings in their projects. They hope they will find him in a few days. The UFO shot the helicopter down and killed both men in it. a. ______________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ b. Our school is organizing a contest. _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ d. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ 16. Bob has sold Ted a second-hand car. The students will also have to do all the writing themselves. ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ 13. Her mother bought Mary some sweets. He gave me a present. Rewrite the following passage in the Passive. The army sent a helicopter to look at it more closer. The teachers will choose the best project about the environment. Turn from Active to Passive in two ways. Rewrite the following passage in the Passive. Experts are looking at them now. Then the robber tied him up. The waiter will bring us the bill. The school will give the winner a set of encyclopaedias.ENGLISH GRAMMAR The Passive Voice 12.

_________________________________________________________________________________ m. a. They haven’t delivered the food yet. _________________________________________________________________________________ 7. _________________________________________________________________________________ h. Someone is helping her with the housework.000 for his painting. _________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Someone bought flowers for the bride. They have to answer the questions on this sheet. Rewrite these sentences in the passive voice. _________________________________________________________________________________ l. _________________________________________________________________________________ g. Turn from Active to Passive._________________________________________________________________________________ e. The secretary has given Mrs Jones some letters. _________________________________________________________________________________ i. They pay her an excellent salary. John gave Elizabeth that beautiful ring. Someone’s going to send her some flowers. _________________________________________________________________________________ e. _________________________________________________________________________________ 5. They showed the tourists the sights of Athens. _________________________________________________________________________________ 3. Larry is going to send a letter to Tom. _________________________________________________________________________________ j. _________________________________________________________________________________ . 1. He must give the message to the right person. Has anybody put the cases upstairs? _________________________________________________________________________________ 6. Someone should take this rubbish away. _________________________________________________________________________________ 18. My friend sent me an invitation. _________________________________________________________________________________ f. The mail-order company sent Mrs Green a parcel. _________________________________________________________________________________ c. _________________________________________________________________________________ b. __________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ 8 17. The traffic warden had already given him a ticket for illegal parking. They sell oysters in the shop next door. _________________________________________________________________________________ 8. Her students have sent her flowers. Shakespeare wrote King Lear. _________________________________________________________________________________ d. _________________________________________________________________________________ k. They’ll ask you a lot of questions. They paid the artist £1. We teach our students English and French. _________________________________________________________________________________ 4.

They are building a new ring-road round the city. They didn’t pay me much for that job. _________________________________________________________________________________ 28. _________________________________________________________________________________ 15. _________________________________________________________________________________ 26. Would they lend me their car? _________________________________________________________________________________ 13. _________________________________________________________________________________ 18. People don’t use this road very often. _________________________________________________________________________________ 20. They have offered Sarah a very good job. They told us a secret. _________________________________________________________________________________ 19. _________________________________________________________________________________ 23. You should open the wine about three hours before you use it. _________________________________________________________________________________ 27. Somebody accused me of stealing the money. _________________________________________________________________________________ 32. They cancelled all the flights because of fog. Brian told me that somebody had attacked and robbed him in the street. John gave Elizabeth that beautiful ring. _________________________________________________________________________________ 10. _________________________________________________________________________________ 14. Somebody had cleaned my shoes and brushed my suit. _________________________________________________________________________________ . _________________________________________________________________________________ 30. _________________________________________________________________________________ 25. I didn’t realize that someone was recording our conversation. Someone is going to repair the roof next week. They had to postpone the meeting because of illness. They are going to hold next year’s congress in San Francisco. The estate agent showed the house to the young people. _________________________________________________________________________________ 12. _________________________________________________________________________________ 29. _________________________________________________________________________________ 22. They have changed the date of the meeting.ENGLISH GRAMMAR The Passive Voice 9 9. _________________________________________________________________________________ 24. We use this room only on special occasions. _________________________________________________________________________________ 17. The bill includes service. _________________________________________________________________________________ 31. _________________________________________________________________________________ 21. People should send their complaints to the head office. In some districts farmers use pigs to find truffles. We will pay the gardener a lot of money. Have they offered him a better job? _________________________________________________________________________________ 11. _________________________________________________________________________________ 16.

_________________________________________________________________________________ 47. _________________________________________________________________________________ 35. They should decorate the room with flowers. _________________________________________________________________________________ 45. We will put all these things into boxes. Professor Smith should write the book. The children send me messages every day. Archaeologists have discovered an ancient temple. Doctor Simms is examining her. Two men were following Tom. _________________________________________________________________________________ 37. They cancelled the match because of the rain. You must stop him now. _________________________________________________________________________________ 40. _________________________________________________________________________________ 50. _________________________________________________________________________________ 39. _________________________________________________________________________________ 41. _________________________________________________________________________________ 36. _________________________________________________________________________________ 34. Mr Elliot will pay the workers. _________________________________________________________________________________ 54. _________________________________________________________________________________ 46. The youngest student in the class has written the best composition. The villagers gave the travellers food and water. _________________________________________________________________________________ 53. She is telling the children a story. _________________________________________________________________________________ 44. They’ve offered Sally a job. _________________________________________________________________________________ 52. They are going to finish the new road in a few days. _________________________________________________________________________________ 43. _________________________________________________________________________________ 56. Poisonous chemicals have polluted the river. _________________________________________________________________________________ 57. _________________________________________________________________________________ 48. _________________________________________________________________________________ 42. The prime minister will give a medal to the winners. They gave Bob a CD player for his birthday. _________________________________________________________________________________ 51. You must not cross this line. A very talented young girl wrote the story. Someone gave them free tickets for the concert. They had picked the oranges before the storm. They can’t find Joanna.10 33. The firefighters rescued the teenagers from the burning building. _________________________________________________________________________________ 55. Millions of people use the Internet every day. _________________________________________________________________________________ 38. _________________________________________________________________________________ . _________________________________________________________________________________ 49.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful