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  
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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. 




Hi I still do not really understand in this topic. As I saw many sentence using be + ed form I not sure it is passive anot ?
According to what I know passive voice is the subject (agent) was not important. And use be +past participle to form passive sentence.

Can any teacher help me to verify the sentence I confused is it in passive voice? As there have subject (agent) without adding by. or what form is this?
1) Karen is relieved that she has passed all her mid-year exam.
2) The girl is disappointed at the poor result
3) Both of you and your husband are invited to dinner.

Here my doubts, hope my doubts can be Solve.

Hi aceling,

The -ed form is used for the past participle, which is used in passive forms, but it is also used to form many adjectives. In your sentences, the first and second are examples of adjectives, not passive forms. The third sentence is an example of a passive form.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Is this question right?:

"How is ended a line of code in an Arduino program?"

Or should be..."How is a line...ended?"

Hello Lisandra,

The most natural-sounding way to say it (to my ears) is: 'How do you end a line of code in Arduino?', but your second idea is better than the first if you want to use one of those two options.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk! But grammaticaly speaking, is the first option correct? I'm helping to edit a text book for high school students, and the translator used mostly the first structure in senteces...
Such as: "On which language is based Arduino?"
OR: "If we want to define the pin 10 of our Arduino to a variable named ‘pin’, which instruction we must use?"
Thank again

Hello Lisandra,

You're welcome. The first option is intelligible, but very unnatural – I would not use it. Except in some formal contexts, prepositions go at the end of questions: 'Which language is Arduino based on?' The other line is OK, though I'd just say 'pin 10' instead of 'the pin 10'.

As much as we'd like to be able to help you, we can't provide this kind of service – our primary purpose here is to help users use our site. For more questions like this, you should get a proofreader, I'm afraid.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

i had asked a question about regular and irregular verbs but i have not received its reply yet?


There are many reasons that we sometimes don't answer comments right away. First of all, please keep in mind that we are a small team with a lot of other work. Responding to comments is just one part of our work, which means that it sometimes takes us longer to do that.

Sometimes the questions we get are very general and would require a long time for us to answer. Especially when a simple search of our site (note the Search box on the right) or of the internet would give an answer, we often don't reply. For example, your other comment asking about prepositions is one that you can find loads of resources on by doing an internet search, whereas for us to reply would take time that we simply don't have.

If your comment about regular and irregular verbs is similarly general, I'd suggest you make it more specific. But first I'd suggest you read our Help page, where there are some guidelines on the kinds of questions we answer.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,

'Fast and Furious is (showing or showed) in every theater. Should it be showing or showed?

Thank you.