Use of Passive

Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. It is not important or not known, however, who or what is performing the action.

Example: My bike was stolen.
In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it. Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows:

Example: A mistake was made.
In this case, I focus on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not blame anyone (e.g. You have made a mistake.).

Form of Passive
Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle (3rd column of irregular verbs)

Example: A letter was written.
When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following:   

the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence the finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle) the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped)

Examples of Passive
Tense Subject Verb Object
a letter.

Simple Present

Active: Passive:

Rita A letter Rita

writes

is written wrote

by Rita. a letter.

Simple

Active:

a letter. by Rita. a letter. . by Rita. a letter. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. by Rita.Past Present Perfect Passive: Active: Passive: A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter was written has written has been written will write will be written can write can be written by Rita. by Rita. a letter. by Rita. Active: Present Progressive Passive: Active: Past Progressive Passive: Past Perfect Active: Passive: Future II Active: Passive: Conditional I Active: Passive: Conditional II Active: Passive: Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter Rita A letter is writing is being written was writing was being written had written had been written will have written will have been written would write would be written would have written would have been by Rita. by Rita. a letter. a letter. a letter. Future I Active: Passive: Hilfsverben Active: Passive: Examples of Passive Tense Subject Verb Object a letter.

adding by Rita does not sound very elegant. say. by Rita. So every verb that needs an object (transitive verb) can form a personal passive. . Latin). Impersonal Passive is only possible with verbs of perception (e. – It is said that women live longer than men. the other one remains an object. think.written Passive Sentences with Two Objects Rewriting an active sentence with two objects in passive voice means that one of the two objects becomes the subject.g. Personal and Impersonal Passive Personal Passive simply means that the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence. Active: Passive: Passive: Rita A letter I wrote a letter was written was written to me a letter by Rita. In English. If you want to use an intransitive verb in passive voice. As you can see in the examples. Example: They build houses. . Which object to transform into a subject depends on what you want to put the focus on. Verbs without an object (intransitive verb) normally cannot form a personal passive sentence (as there is no object that can become the subject of the passive sentence). Example: he says – it is said Impersonal Passive is not as common in English as in some other languages (e. German. you need an impersonal construction – therefore this passive is called Impersonal Passive. Example: They say that women live longer than men. g. Subject Verb Object 1 Object 2 to me. – Houses are built. know). That’s why it is usually dropped.

the car / stop / not . Personal Passive is more common. the table / set 13. the window / open 3. The rest of the sentence is added using an infinitive construction with 'to' (certain auxiliary verbs and that are dropped). dinner / serve 17. the documents / print 2. this computer / sell / not 18. the shoes / buy 4.Although Impersonal Passive is possible here. the food / eat / not 10. the songs / sing / not 9. the house / build 16. Example: They say that women live longer than men. the shop / close / not past simple 11. the cat / feed 14. – Women are said to live longer than men. the test / write 12. Present simple 1. the lights / switch on 15. the car / wash 5. the book / read / not 8. the litter / throw away 6. The subject of the subordinate clause (women) goes to the beginning of the sentence. the letter / send 7. the verb of perception is put into passive voice. Sometimes the term Personal Passive is used in English lessons if the indirect object of an active sentence is to become the subject of the passive sentence.

credit cards / accept / not 10. the exhibition / visit 2. the ring / find / not Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. the postcard / send 2. the thief / arrest 5. the mail / write 6. the windows / clean 3. the sign / see / not 8. He opens the door. - The door is . 1. the door / close 4. the people / inform / not Write passive sentences in Future I. 1. the pencils / count 3.19. the message / read 4. a dictionary / use / not 9. the beds / make 5. 1. the tables / clean / not 20. the room / book / not 9. these songs / sing 7. the children / pick up / not Write passive sentences in Present Perfect. the trees / plant 7. the rent / pay / not 10. the photo / take 6. the money / spend 8.

We stopped the bus. I have eaten a hamburger.2. A thief stole my car. They didn't make their beds. 4. 6. I have opened the present. 5. 7. 8. They didn't let him go. 5. - The bill has 2. 1. 8. You do not write the letter. She pays a lot of money. 4. 7. Does the police officer catch the thief? Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. I did not tell them. 4. They have not read the book. 2. She sang a song. They don't help you. We set the table. - . He doesn't open the book. 1. 3. Did you tell them? 10. 9. She didn't win the prize. We have cycled five miles. 6. 5. 9. I draw a picture. Does your mum pick you up? 10. Kerrie has paid the bill. Somebody hit me. Did he send the letter? Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. - A song w as 3. 3. They wear blue shoes.

John collects money. 8. Has she phoned him? 10. You have not sent the parcel. The sheep ate a lot. We do not clean our rooms. 4. 5. Did Sue draw this circle? - . - A new comp 3. They have not caught the thieves. William will not repair the car. 9. You will not do it. They will not ask him. He can cut out the picture. Anna opened the window. 2. Our boss will sign the contract. Millions of people will visit the museum. 7. 7. Will the plumber repair the shower? Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. 7. 3. 8. 1. We have done our homework. Jane will buy a new computer.6. 4. Have they noticed us? Rewrite the sentences in passive voice. 6. 5. 6. We have not agreed to this issue. 9. Her boyfriend will install it. I will ask a question. He won't see Sue. 1. 9. 2. 8. Will the company employ a new worker? 10. They will not show the new film.

→ 3. → 20. → 13. We have asked him a favour. → 15. She told me a lie. → 19. I sent him a letter. They have written her a postcard. → 5. → 18. The police officer showed us the way. → 4. Our neighbour gave me a lift. The police officer showed us the way. They did not offer her a seat. We have asked him a favour. → 1. Kerrie will make you a cup of tea. → 17. Rachel will give you some advice. The waiter has not brought us the coffee. → 16.10. → 12. → 14. → 2. Our neighbour gave me a lift. → . Rachel will give you some advice. I sent him a letter. Could you feed the dog? – 11.

The window should be opened by you. People believe that nuclear power stations are dangerous. 1. → 9. . They believe that she will win a gold medal. .The box would be carried by her. → 10. They think that the children are in bed. You should open the window. → 5. 1. → 3. → 9.6. . → 8. → 7. → 6. They found that the mission was impossible. Kerrie will make you a cup of tea. People know that cars pollute the environment. → 8. The waiter has not brought us the coffee. → 10. I can answer the question. 3. They suppose that the new product will come out soon.The question can be answered by me. People believe that the robber has worked in the bank. → 7. . His collegues thought that he was on holiday. 2. → 4. They did not offer her a seat. She told me a lie. They have written her a postcard. People know that she is a good swimmer. They say that Francis is in hospital. She would carry the box. → 2.

The form must be filled in by him.Bread need not be bought by them.4. .Could the door be locked by Jenny? .Will our English be tested by the teacher? 10. They need not buy bread. . .The sentence could not be read by him. 9. We might play cards. You ought to wash the car. He must fill in the form.Cards might be played by us.The car ought to be washed by you 6. Could Jenny lock the door? . . 8. 5. Will the teacher test our English? . . 7. He could not read the sentence.