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 ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The children send me messages every day. _________________________________________________________________________________ 57. Someone gave them free tickets for the concert. You must stop him now. You must not cross this line. _________________________________________________________________________________ 34. The youngest student in the class has written the best composition. _________________________________________________________________________________ 41. They cancelled the match because of the rain. They had picked the oranges before the storm. _________________________________________________________________________________ 51. They are going to finish the new road in a few days. Millions of people use the Internet every day. They should decorate the room with flowers. _________________________________________________________________________________ 52. _________________________________________________________________________________ 45. We will put all these things into boxes. _________________________________________________________________________________ 47. The villagers gave the travellers food and water. The prime minister will give a medal to the winners. _________________________________________________________________________________ 53. _________________________________________________________________________________ 50. Two men were following Tom. Archaeologists have discovered an ancient temple. _________________________________________________________________________________ 56. They’ve offered Sally a job. _________________________________________________________________________________ 46. _________________________________________________________________________________ 36. The firefighters rescued the teenagers from the burning building. _________________________________________________________________________________ 54. _________________________________________________________________________________ 55. Doctor Simms is examining her. A very talented young girl wrote the story. Poisonous chemicals have polluted the river. Professor Smith should write the book. They can’t find Joanna. _________________________________________________________________________________ 49. _________________________________________________________________________________ 43. _________________________________________________________________________________ 48. _________________________________________________________________________________ 42. _________________________________________________________________________________ . _________________________________________________________________________________ 44. _________________________________________________________________________________ 37.10 33. _________________________________________________________________________________ 40. _________________________________________________________________________________ 38. She is telling the children a story. _________________________________________________________________________________ 39. _________________________________________________________________________________ 35. Mr Elliot will pay the workers. They gave Bob a CD player for his birthday.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful