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. 

 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello Andrew international,

What were you told is correct in many situations, but I'd recommend thinking of 'by' as indicating the agent of the action and 'with' referring to an instrument. Sometimes the line between an agent and an instrument can be difficult to draw, but hopefully this gives you an idea.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

This explanation kind of difficult, i think its better to be explained by present simple then past simple and so on.
thanks

Hello mutazalsir,

Have you tried the tasks? If you do well on the tasks, that's a good sign that you've understood the basics at least. If you have any specific questions about anything, please let us know.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi..
Please could you tell me if this sentence is correct or not ''they went to that prison last year, but before that we had been being taken to more than 30 prison within 3 years''.

Hello suliman ali,

I would suggest saying 'we had been taken' instead of 'we had been being taken', which is complex I don't anyone would ever say it. The prepositional phrase 'over the course of three years' instead of 'within three years' would clearly express the idea of duration better than a continuous verb form would.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Could you help me to get rid of some hesitations:

How do we write Present/Past/Future perfect continuous sentences in passive voice?
For Instance,
Active:
John had been driving the car for two years before he sold it.
Passive:
The car had been being driven by John for two years.
or
The car had been driven by John for two years.

Which passive sentence is correct?

Hello Ayyubkhan,

Both sentences are grammatically correct. The first sentence is a past perfect continuous passive and the second a past perfect simple passive. The first of these is quite unusual in English, partly because a very unusual context is required and partly because it is rather an awkward form because of the number of auxiliary verbs required, and so it is avoided where possible.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

could you help me ,Which sentence is correct and why
1- We delegate our local agent to receive from you the certificate to be sent back to us .
2- We delegate our local agent to receive from you the certificate to be sending back to us .

why we use " sent " in past participle , and what does it mean ?

Hello Nermeen Eletriby,

The second sentence is not grammatically correct. The first sentence is correct, but whether it would be suitable will depend on the context, of course.

'Sent' is used here because the construction to be sent is a passive form and we make the passive with the verb be and a past participle.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.I'm squeezing my brains because I have a couple of doubts about adverbial phrases and order in passive sentences. Basically, I don't know how to deal with several adverbs and by subject.
For example, The packet has been carefully delivered to John by his family recently to encourage him.
Or, The packet has been carefully delivered to John recently by his family to encourage.
And finally, what about prepositions and questions?
Who was the email sent by yesterday? Who was the email sent yesterday by?
Thanks a lot.

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