Look at these examples to see how the passive voice is used.
A lot of olive oil is produced in Italy.
This book was written by Angela Davis.
The suspect will be released tomorrow.
This product has not been tested on animals.
Try this exercise to test your grammar.
- Grammar test 1
Read the explanation to learn more.
We use the passive voice to change the focus of the sentence.
My bike was stolen. (passive – focus on my bike)
Someone stole my bike. (active – focus on someone)
We often use the passive:
- when we prefer not to mention who or what does the action (for example, it's not known, it's obvious or we don't want to say)
- so that we can start a sentence with the most important or most logical information
- in more formal or scientific writing.
How we make the passive
We make the passive using the verb be + past participle. We start the sentence with the object.
|directed by James Cameron.
|+ be +
It is not always necessary to add who or what did the action.
|+ be +
Only the form of be changes to make the tense. The past participle stays the same. Here are examples of the passive in its most common tenses.
|Alioli is made from oil, garlic and salt.
|is/are + past participle
|The hall is being painted this week.
|is/are being + past participle
|John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
|was/were + past participle
|The signs were being put up last week.
|was/were being + past participle
|Oranges have been grown here for centuries.
|has/have been + past participle
|When he got home, he found that his flat had been burgled.
|had been + past participle
|The work will be finished next week.
|will be + past participle
Do this exercise to test your grammar again.
- Grammar test 2