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. 




He has been there.(active) There has been been by him(passive) Is it right or wrong??

Hello Dil Gill,

I'm afraid that isn't correct. The verb 'be' as a main verb (here, 'has been' is the present perfect form of 'be') is only used in the active voice.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Thank you for answer,
but I want to know what will be the passive voice of the same i.e."He has been there"

Hello Dil Gill,

Intransitive verbs such as 'be' do not have passive forms. If you change the verb to one like 'visit', you could possibly form a passive construction, e.g. 'That place has been visited', but there is no way to do it with the verb 'be'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there ,

I'm preparing for the TOEIC TEST and today I was answering some questions in the reading section.I got confused a little bit with one of them

the Question is :Mary’s new computer was supposed _____
delivered on Monday, but it did not arrive until

a. to be
b. going to be
c. having been
d. to have been

my answer was "a" but it was wrong ,the answer sheet says it's "d"

so I wanna know the reason for this answer

Thanks in advance ,

Hello mohamed ashraf sayed,

The perfect infinitive (to have been) is the better answer here because of the times referred to in the sentence. In this sentence, both Monday and Wednesday are in the past. Since events on Monday occurred before events on Wednesday, a perfect infinitive (which has a meaning something like the past perfect in terms of it indicating a past action (Monday) previous to another past time (Wednesday)) is the most correct form.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Team,

I've got a little trouble in understanding this sentence.

'You understand what Starfleet regulation mandate be done at this point.'

Is it active or passive? And why 'be' is used directly(I mean not using 'be forms' such as 'is')?
I'm quite confused by the phrase 'be done'.

Thanks in advance,

Hi Eng.Learner,

I'm not surprised that you find it difficult to understand this sentence, because it isn't grammatically correct! I think that the word 'mandate' should be 'mandates'; normally the verb 'mandate' is followed by to + infinitive, but I don't know how else to interpret this sentence. If I'm correct, the idea is that 'you' already understand what actions the regulations require at this point - the form 'be done' is indeed passive.

I hope that clears it up for you.

Best wishes,
Capt. Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Thanks a million. Now I see the idea. But, I'm rather unclear about the grammatical structure of the sentence. Is it possible to construct a sentence with both active and passive voice forms together like one in this sentence( 'mandates' = active voice + 'be done' = passive voice).


Hello Eng.Learner,

Yes, 'mandate' can be followed by a passive form, as in this sentence, though it is not a common structure. Personally, I think it'd be clearer to omit 'be done' ('You understand what Starfleet regulation mandates at this point.'), but that's just me.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team