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  
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 am bit confused about active voice and passive voice. I will take example from here. i gave him a book for his birthday this is Active voice. He was given a book for his birthday this this is passive voie. what I am undrstand from this passive voice, that book was given to him by his self. is it correct or worng? please correct me.

Hello keyansugan81,

No, that is not quite correct. The sentence "He was given a book for his birthday" does not specify who gave the book to the person whose birthday it was. It might be that the giver of the gift is unknown, or it might be that the person who wrote that sentence didn't think it was important to mention who the giver was.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
can you kindly explain the passive voice of Present perfect and past perfect with some examples ......... it is damn confusing....... its a mess........ :(

Hello waqar un Ansa,

As is explained above, the passive is formed of the verb be (which can be one or more words, and in the case of the present perfect and past perfect is two words, e.g. has/have been or had been) plus a past participle.

Why don't you write two or three sentences and ask us to correct them?

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Well I got a little confused about PASSIVE VOICE, If I have an active voice sentences in present perfect tense, What is the tense that I have to write the passive sentence?? I don't know If I am being clear with the questions, I hope that someone could help with this doubt please..

Hello Eloisa Guzman,

In transformation exercises the tenses should remain the same unless there is some instruction to do otherwise.  Therefore, if you have a sentence in the present perfect then you should transform it into the present perfect passive.

I hope that answers your question.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

hello!i have a question in use of passive here- Film is finished or finished?and -Concert is started or started?and in shops "closed" means "is closed"?what about a note"open".Why just open?thank u.