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



Hi Sir,
May I know if the structure of the following two sentences are acceptable.

1) He was scolded for being late by the teacher yesterday.
2) He was scolded by the teacher for being late.

Is "for being late" considered as an object or purpose?
Thank you.

Hi Amanda,

Both sentences are fine. The position of the phrase for being late is flexible.

The phrase is an example of a prepositional phrase. This is made up of a preposition (for) and an object (being late). Prepositional phrases can have adjectival or adverbial functions in the sentence and in your example it has an adverbial function.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,
Thank you so much.


Dear sir,
Would you mind telling me which of the following sentences you would prefer and why?
(i). I have a lot of work to do.
(ii) I have a lot of work to be done.
Thank you in advance.

Hello Prap,

Neither sentence is incorrect but the first sentence sounds more natural to me. The passive form is more often used with 'there' as the subject. I think these three forms are most likely here:

I have a lot of work to do

There is a lot of work to do

There is a lot of work to be done.



The LearnEnglish Team

The goods have been replaced last night by the grocer.
Weather this sentence is right or wrong?
If it is right then what will be active of the sentence .

Please read whether instead of weather
I Made mistake

Hello Arvind Kumar Singh,

The verb in this sentence should be in the past simple ('were replaced') instead of the present perfect ('have been replaced') since the action took place in a finished past ('last night').

The active voice of the sentence with the past simple would be 'The grocer replaced the goods last night'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much sir.

Can I say "I give him some money" as an active sentence? It doesn't sound correct to me but my school wrote it on the board to be changed into passive voice.