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. 





I want to learn literary elements and figurative language.

Hello frozenfever,

That's great, but I'm afraid we don't have any resources for that. This BBC page might be useful for you and I'd also suggest you do an internet search for 'learn literary elements'.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I want to learn about paragraph writing

Hello again Losu Peter,

There's a little bit on paragraph writing in Unit 7 of English for Emails and in Writing for a Purpose. Another good resource that I sometimes refer my students to is the Online Writing Lab, which has lots of useful resources for learning about writing.

You can also learn a lot by reading texts that are similar to the ones that you want to write. Analyse the paragraphs - what is the idea in each one, what does each sentence do, etc. - and then imitate the organisation and style in your own writing.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I will appreciate if you answer and comment on the following question:
What form (“were” or “have been”) is better to use in a descriptive text? E.g. “In contrast to X, where changes were (have been) observed, no changes were (have been) found in Y.”
Thank you,

Hello Olle99,

The type of text does not influence this, but rather the way we perceive the action. If there is a present result of the action which is still valid then we use the present perfect; if the action is solely in the past and is complete then we use the past simple.

In your example it depends on the context. If you are describing the actions of a scientist from the past then 'were' and 'were' would be correct. If you are describing your own research or research conducted by another person in the present or very recent past then 'have been observed' and 'have been found' would be correct.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


"causative verbs are used instead of passive verbs to show that the subject causes the actions to be done ."

Can you please, give me more information about Causative verbs: have/get something done.

Hi Essid Abir,

The construction 'have sth done' is generally used when we pay for a service. For example:

'I had my lawn cut last week' means that I paid someone to do it.

Here are some other examples:

'I had my house painted'

'She had her car repaired'


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Let the voice be changed
How to make this sentence negative?

How to change the voice
Dont speak English

Page does not provide this information


There are several ways to make the sentence negative, depending on which element you wish to negate, but the most common is 'Don't let the voice be changed'.

Your second sentence is an imperative form. Imperative forms do not have passive forms.



Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team