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

Dear Kirk
Could you please transfer in to passive.

"I met with an accident"

Hello AJU V,

We're happy to help you, but please give it a try yourself first. By the way, the sentence you will get by transforming this into the passive is so unnatural that it's unlikely you'd ever hear or read it.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I am currently writing Essay in Passive Voice and I am wondering is this sentence is correct? I have a big problem with long sentences like that when I need to say about organizations for example, but how can I do that in Passive Voice?
Most of the organizations (65%) are aware of the problem but they are doubtful how to cope with it.
Cheers

Hi ZNatalieJM,

That sentence is fine - well done.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Would you mind giving me a clue here? Is the passive voice mostly used in speaking or writing. Does an English teacher have to explicitly focus on passive voice practice while teaching in a speaking session?
Thank you in advance

Hello maysamteacher,

Passive voice can be used in both speaking and writing. It really depends upon the kind of speaking and what the speaker wishes to express. If we do not know who did something then the passive may well be the most natural way to express it, whether in spoken or written form. For example, 'My house was burgled' is more common than 'Someone burgled my house'. Passive forms are also stylistic and rhetorical. They enable us to focus attention on certain parts of the sentence and to omit other parts.

I would not say that the passive is necessarily tied to either speaking or writing. It may be more common in written English, but it is certainly used in spoken English quite frequently.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

This shop sells all the vegetables
Could you please change this to passive

Hello tonykjohn,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers to questions from tests or homework for our users. However, if you want to try to transform it yourself then we'll be happy to tell you if you did it correctly.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Ok thanks for your reply. I had a confusion while transforming
All the vegetables are sold by this shop
All the vegetables are sold in this shop

Which one is correct??

Hello tonykjohn,

Both of those are correct, with slightly different meanings. The first one says that the shop sells the vegetables. The second could mean the same thing, but if taken literally, it could mean that a different business is selling the vegetables inside a shop that doesn't belong to it. But I think in most cases they mean the same thing.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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