active and passive voice


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. 




hello british council team.. thank you for all your work.. i would be grateful if you help me.
'' Something better is needed'' is it passive here or like - ''shop is closed''

Hello Eddi,

Deciding whether a form like this is a passive form or an adjective is often a subjective decision, in which you could argue either way. I would say that ' needed' here is a passive form with an implied 'by us', making the active form 'We need something better'.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Tell me plz which one is correct.
Q. Father called up Angela on her birthday.
Ans. Either On her birthday Angela was called up by her father Or Angela was called up by father on her birthday.

Hello shivsoney,

Why don't you tell us what you think the answer is and then we'll tell you if we agree or not?

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Please let me know which one is correct 'thermoghapic scan program are being initiated' or 'thermoghapic scan program will be initiated'.

Hello Afifa,

That really depends on what you want to say, as the time referred to in the two versions is different. Please note that 'program' be 'programs' in order to match the plural verb 'are being initiated'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

suppose my friend said something at that time to me. After 2-3 days i said his wording to 3rd person.
eg. "i will arrange the passes for you for the pub".(Actually he didn't)
how would i say it to 3rd person
he told me that he will arrange the passes for the pub or he would arrange.
my doubt is i would say that thing in past or present to the 3rd person.
plz respond ASAP.

Hello tagrapankaj,

'he would arrange' would the correct form here, as you are referring to a speech event in the past which referred to a time after that past time.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

I want to know if these sentences are correct.

1) The cake is covered with cream.
2) She is dressed in a chef uniform.

Do they sound right?

Hello greyish,

Yes, those sound right to me. Good work!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team