Transitive verbs have both active and passive forms:

active   passive
The hunter killed the lion. >> The lion was killed by the hunter.
Someone has cleaned the windows >> The windows have been cleaned


The passive forms are made up of the verb be with a past participle:

  be past participle  
English is spoken all over the world
The windows have been cleaned  
Lunch was being served  
The work will be finished soon
They might have been invited to the party


We sometimes use the verb get to form the passive:

Be careful with the glass. It might get broken.
Peter got hurt in a crash.

If we want to show the person or thing doing the action we use by:

She was attacked by a dangerous dog.
The money was stolen by her husband.

We can use the indirect object as the subject of a passive verb:

 

active   passive
I gave him a book for his birthday >> He was given a book for his birthday.
Someone sent her a cheque for a thousand euros >> She was sent a cheque for a thousand euros.


We can use phrasal verbs in the passive:

 

active   passive
They called off the meeting. >> The meeting was called off.
His grandmother looked after him. >> He was looked after by his grandmother.
They will send him away to school. >> He will be sent away to school.

Some verbs very frequently used in the passive are followed by the to-infinitive:

 

be supposed to be expected to be asked to
be scheduled to be allowed to be told to

John has been asked to make a speech at the meeting.
You are supposed to wear a uniform.
The meeting is scheduled to start at seven. 

 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello KHURRAM USMAN,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers to tasks like this. We're happy to explain how the language works or to explain examples which are not clear (as I did for you with your other question) but we don't do tasks like this. If we tried then we would end up doing our users' homework for them, which is not our role!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter
It is not homework but i want to know how to convert passive voice into active voice and then when we have active voice sentences, similarly, we can do it. your page is not providing details instructions how to do this.
Therefore, please help me in this regards. Yet, why we use 'be' with may, can give me some advice regarding this.

Hello KHURRAM USMAN,

To make a passive verb form into an active verb form we need to know the agent - the person or thing doing the action. Sometimes this is included in the passive construction (with a 'by' phrase), sometimes it is obvious and sometimes we simply need to use a generic term such as 'someone' or 'people'. This can make for some very unnatural sentences, even if they are grammatically correct.

 

The active versions of your sentences would be as follows:

People speak English all over the world.

Someone has cleaned the windows.

People were serving lunch.

People will finish the work soon.

Someone might have invited them to the party.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by the question about 'may'. Modal verbs are followed by bare infinitives (without 'to') and 'be' is an example of a bare infinitive: should be, might be, may be, could be etc.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

How can I tell "verb" is transitive or not? And also how can I tell verb is only intransitive like "happen" etc?

Hello kingston,

Most dictionaries will have this information. See, for example, the entry for 'happen' in the Cambridge Dictionary, where [I] means it is intransitive.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, can someone tell what is the best way to recognize active and passive in verb?

Hello Riha,

A passive verb always has at least two parts, and the first one is always some form of the verb 'be' (or in some cases 'get'). The second part, which is always one word, is always a past participle.

Does that help?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Would you please help me change the following sentence into the passive voice?
They have had to destroy some buildings.

Hello Hisham al Lubbad,

The passive form of this sentence would be as follows:

Some buildings have had to be destroyed.

 

Please note that generally we don't provide answers to specific questions like this as we don't want to end up doing people's homework or tests for them.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much, Sir.
In fact I am a teacher of English language and I have been teaching the passive for a long time.
However, one of my students asked me about the difference between "They had to destroy some buildings" and " They have had to destroy some buildings" in the passive voice and my answer was as follows:
Active voice: They had to destroy some buildings.
Passive voice: Some buildings had to be destroyed.

Active voice: They have had to destroy some buildings.
Passive voice: Some buildings have had to be destroyed.

I just wanted to make sure I was right by asking experts.
Thank you again Mr. Perer
Bye

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