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. 




First of all I would like to express my heartiest thanks for the great  work which is being done by British Council. There is nothing special to tell you because everyone knows you are the number one.
Kamal Sahabandu , Galle, Sri Lanka.

Hello Kamal!

It is special for you to tell us - we're always happy to hear that people like our work. I hope you enjoy the rest of the website, and wish you all the best in your English studies!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everybody
I am looking forward for finding a partner to practicing English.
Are there anybody that wanna help me?

please sir, please help me by changing the voice of 'the worm flies in the night'.

Hello Somenath Khan,

I'm afraid a passive form is not possible for this sentence.  The verb 'fly' in this sentence is an intransitive verb (with no object) and cannot be made into a passive form.

To make a sentence in the passive with 'fly' you would need to make it transitive (e.g. 'He flies planes regularly').  Then, it would be possible to use the passive voice ('Planes are flown regularly [by him]').

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

I have registered here to learn English with ease. I have heard that the administrative team is most helpful.

Hello everyone!
'They have been invited to the party'. i know this is a passive sentence.'They have invited to the party'.and also i know this is an active sentence.But i don't see any different of this two sentence.could anyone say what is the difference of this two sentence?
Thanks for your help.

Hello bimsara,

The second sentence in actually incorrect.  'Invite' is a transitive verb and needs an object.  The sentence should be:

'They have invited him (her, you etc) to the party.'

When you see the sentence like this it is, I think, clear what the difference is:

'They have been invited to the party' - 'they' are the guests.

'They have invited him to the party' - 'they' are the hosts.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish

Hello All,
I was working on the Passive voice with my students when a sentence arose that I had some trouble with.
The murderer (a dutch insert here talking about arrest) in his own house.
My gut tells me that it should be "The murderer was arrested in his own house", but I simply cannot explain why.
If I follow the grammar I would say "The murderer has been arrested in his own house" for I would say that there is no specified time, but we do of course believe it be a fact taking place in the past. A finalised occurrence in the past without a specified and clear time (frame) would suggest the usage of the Present Perfect to me.
Can anyone help me out on this one?