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. 




I need some help I am doing some grammar exercises and have come across an exercise where it asks me to answer in correct tense or voice would this me active or passive voice? I'm a bit confused.

Hello chicca8080,

Yes, 'voice' here would refer to active or passive voice. Tense describes time reference (past or present) and aspect refers to perfective or continuous aspect.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi everyone, I am little bit confused about use of "was being and is being" in the report writing. For your info, Im working at CCTV monitoring center. So, I almost everyday will do an incident report. Which one is right if i want to write in report that I was observing the incident or something moving in the CCTV. For example, in my report "I observed the theft (was/is) being caught by policeman to the door at the corner of elevator. "Is or was" should i use?

Hello eddylearnenglish,

If I understand correctly, what I'd say in your report is 'I observed the thief being caught by a policeman at the door at the corner of the elevator'. (Note that 'theft' is a crime, and 'thief' is the person who commits that crime.)

In this case, as you'll have noticed, neither 'is' nor 'was' is used. This is because verbs of perception are generally followed by an object + verb in the -ing form when we are describing an event that we saw happening.

I hope that clarifies it for you, but if not, please let us know.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Sorry, my mistake about thief and theft. The other main issue I think that I still not so clear. Can you explain me some more when should I use IS if BEING is used at the back? If you don't mind can you give an example to differentiate using of "is/was being" and also using only single "being". Thank you Sir.

Hi eddy,

No worries, that's what we're here for!

There's no simple way to explain all the possible uses of the forms you ask about, but here are some pages that I suggest you consult: the verb be, continuous aspect, active and passive voice, present continuous and past continuous. I think those will help you understand the issue, but please don't hesitate to ask further questions.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Oh. Thank you Sir for your co-operations. I will ask again if I still not clear about that later.

sir do u tell me how to use of "let" ."Let the music be listened" .Is correct passive sentence?

Hello angelwaheed,

The sentence is almost correct but needs 'to' on the end:

Let the music be listened to.

This is an example of a passive infinitive form and 'let' can be followed with a regular infinitive or a passive infinitive:

Let us eat the food.

Let the food be eaten.

However, the form with the passive infinitive is quite rare in English and can sound quite old-fashioned or archaic.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team



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