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What is Passive Voice?

Passive Voice is a structure we use in

English where the subject becomes
the object.

In the active voice, the subject does

the action.
Alice wears a red dress.
The cat eats the mouse.
Who does the action in this
Who eats the mouse?
The cat
It performs the action. We see the
action in the cat’s point of view.
Now, Passive Voice expresses an
action done to a subject. That means
the subject receives the action. The
object becomes the subject of the
passive sentence.
The mouse is eaten by the cat.
In this sentence the mouse is the
We see the action in the mouse’s point
of view.
When do we use Passive Voice?
We use Passive Voice when;
we want to place emphasis on the object
or objects,
we do not know who is performing the
action, or it is not apparent who is
performing the action,
we express a general idea.
To talk about the actions or events when we
want to emphasize what happened, or who
it happened to, rather than who or what
caused the action.
Why do we use Passive Voice?

We vary our speech in English.

It is usually used to say what has
happened when talking about events.
It is often used on the news, in
newspapers, manuals and recipes.
It gives a different style and variation
to language. At times it just sounds
How do we form Passive Voice?

‘to be’ + the past participle.

We form Passive Voice by putting the verb
“to be” into the same tense as the active
verb and adding the past participle of the
active verb.
Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.
Hamlet was written by Shakespeare.
Bugsy stole the money early this morning.
The money was stolen early this morning.
Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.
Hamlet was written by Shakespeare.
Edison invented the light bulb.
The light bulb was invented by Edison.
We can omit ‘by’ if we don’t know who is performing
the action, or it’s not apparent.
They killed the president.
The president was killed.
They’ve reduced the prices of many things in the
The prices of many things have been reduced in
the shops.
We sometimes make passive
sentences with ‘get’ instead of ‘be’
The money was stolen
The money got stolen
 Mom, We were playing football and
the window got broken.
We generally use the passive
because the agent is not important or
not known.
The house was built in 1925.
(Agent unknown / unimportant)
English is spoken in Canada.
(Specific agent unknown /
However, we can include the agent
after the verb in a passive sentence,
using the preposition ‘BY’
My lunch was stolen by a gorilla from
the circus!
The new hospital is going to be
opened by the Queen herself.