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Active and passive voice

Level: beginner

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.

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.

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.

Active and passive voice 1


Active and passive voice 2


Active and passive voice 3


Level: intermediate

The passive infinitive is made up of to be with a past participle:

The doors are going to be locked at ten o'clock.
You shouldn't have done that. You ought to be punished.

We sometimes use the verb get with a past participle to form the passive:

Be careful with that glass. It might get broken.
Peter got hurt in a crash.

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.
Active and passive voice 4


Active and passive voice 5


Level: advanced

Some verbs which are very frequently used in the passive are followed by the to-infinitive:

be supposed to be expected to be asked to be told to
be scheduled to be allowed to be invited to be ordered 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.

Active and passive voice 6


Active and passive voice 7



How can I write these sentences in the active voice?
1. A lot of coffee is grown in Brazil.
2. The world's highest mountains are found in the Himalayas.

Can I say?
1. It grows a lot of coffee in Brazil.
2. It finds the world's highest mountains in the Himalayas.

If yes, are these phrases often used?
Thank you for the help!

Hello Juliana,

No, you can't rephrase in that way. You need to introduce the implied subject:

People grow a lot of coffee in Brazil.

We find the world's highest mountains in the Himalayas.



The LearnEnglish Team

Is "love" as in "I love this" a stative verb?

Can a stative verb be transitive?

In "I love this", is love a transitive verb and "this" the object of the transitive verb "love"?

Hello magnuslin,

Yes, 'love' is a stative verb here, and it is also transitive (with 'this' as its object), as are many other stative verbs.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Sir I have a great confusion regarding the use of HOW word before an infinitive( specially the verbs after to like "learn, swim, know, teach etc.. ")
For example
1) He don't know to swim.
2) He don't know how to swim.
We know that the 1st one is incorrect and the 2nd one is correct.

I want to know why we use "HOW" before an infinitive. What type of meaning does it convey.

Hello Kapil Kabir

We use 'how' + infinitive to speak about skills. So you can say, for example, 'He knows how to cook', 'She knows how to swim', 'They know how to play billiards'.

Note that in your two sentences, 'don't' should be 'doesn't'.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much sir..

which part of speech is it? by hunter

Hello lella123

As far as I can tell, 'hunter' is a noun and 'by' is a preposition used to indicate the agent. It'd be useful to see the whole sentence and its context.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Could you please explain how can I make this sentence "Trump exits press conference after being challenged by female reporters" into active? I am so confused