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THE PASSIVE VOICE                                                           MENU
  1. Form
  2. Use
  3. Practise
FORM

Verb tense Active voice Passive voice
Simple present They clean the house The house is cleaned
Present continuous They are cleaning the house The house is being cleaned
Present perfect They have cleaned the house The house has been cleaned
Past simple They cleaned the house The house was cleaned
Past continuous They were cleaning the house The house was being cleaned
Past perfect They had cleaned the house The house had been cleaned
will They will clean the house The house will be cleaned
be going to They are going to clean the house The house is going to be cleaned
should, must, may, ought to, can, could... They should clean the house The house should be cleaned

  • The radio was invented by Marconi.
  • The subject in the active voice becomes the agent in the passive voice.
  • The object in the active voice becomes the subject in the active voice.
  • The form of the verb changes:
Madame Curie invented penicillin
Penicillin was invented by Madame Curie.

Active voice:  The teacher gave the students some worksheets
                              The teacher gave some worksheets to the students

Passive voice: The students were given some worksheets by the teacher
                      Some worksheets were given to the students by the teacher.
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USE


We use the passive when we want to emphasize the action because it is not important who or what did the action or we don´t know who or what did it:

The window has been broken. (we don´t know who broke it or we don´t want to say it)

It is very common in textbooks and reports to describe activities, processes and also for official rules. It is also used in news reports. up 

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PRACTISE