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. 




Hello amrita,

I'm afraid we can't help you with questions that come from other sources. We are simply too small a team with too much other work to be able to offer this kind of service.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I'm sorry if I've offended the LearnEnglish Team in any way as I have been blocked from posting any queries on the page of sentences. I just wanted to speak and write impeccably. Thank you sir for all your explanations tilll date , they have indeed helped me a lot. Sorry again.

Hello amrita,

It's great that you want to perfect your English and we respect that very much. It's just that our work doesn't allow us to provide the level of service you seek. You are still welcome to ask us any questions that are directly related to the content of our site.

We look forward to seeing more of you around the site.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I have read this :

A week after Aarushi's murder, Rajesh Talwar was arrested and spent 60 days in jail before getting bail

I have few doubts :

1. " Rajesh Talwar was arrested " is in passive and so the remaining sentence after 'and ' should either be in passive for it to continue the same subject without repeating or have subject repeated if it is to be in active voice.

2. In its present form does the range of ' was ' extend to verb after ' and ' and effectively makes it : and was spent 60 days in Jail before getting bail , which is wrong.

Please clarify.

Hello dipak,

1. Although it would be a bit clearer if the subject were repeated, it's not strictly necessary here.

2. No it does not.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for the reply, but my doubt no.2 persists :

It is usual that range of helping verb ( to be ) or the main verb extends to the next clause in the complex or composite sentence and that is the reason we do not repeat it in next clause.For example :

Food was prepared and delivered to the customer. Here it means : Food was prepared and it was delivered ... and not food was prepared and it delivered , which would be wrong.
Can you elaborate on when this range extends and when not.

If we apply this to my sentence in earlier query then , I again repeat , it would effectively become : and was spent 60 days ...

If you could reply again.

Hello dipak,

As far as I know, there is no generally accepted rule such as the one you mention. In my own writing -- and I think others would agree with me -- if the meaning is clear, then the subject can be omitted. The sentence you ask about sounds fine to me.

I'm sorry if my answer isn't satisfactory. You might want to do some research on 'ellipsis' (the general term for leaving out words) to learn more about the topic in general.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Sentence: "The house has been being cleaned by John?" - correct or incorrect? ;-)

Hello bilingual,

Correct but quite unusual due to being a bit awkward.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team