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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



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

Hello Dukul

The first verb form ('exits') is already active; the second one ('being challenged') is passive. To make it active, the agent of the passive verb form ('female reporters') should become the subject of the verb: 'after female reporters challenged him'.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

On the website"Peter got hurt in a crash" is given as example of passive voice. What will be its active form? Hasn't "hurt"been used as Participle adjective here.

Hello sir.
I have a doubt, regarding the use of 'get' verb
Sometimes it acts linking verb and sometimes it acts causative verb.
For these examples
1) The father got his daughter married.
2) The father got his daughter marry.
Which one is correct between these two sentences ?

If we assume get as a causative verb it takes Bare infinitive according to that marry verb is right here.
But I have discussed many teachers for that question they say that 'get' verb always follows a past participle.
Please clarify this sir.

Hello Kapil Kabir,

The correct form here is the past participle. Get is never used with the bare infinitive in this way and get someone marry is not a correct formulation.


Causative verbs are followed by the past participle: get something done, have something done etc.



The LearnEnglish Team

If we write
The father got his son to marry.
Is it correct ?

Hello Kapil Kabir

Yes, in informal situations this is fine if 'get' means 'persuade' (see the fifth entry). In a less informal situation, you could say 'The father convinced his son to marry.'

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team