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

Voice change of "I am going to do the job" ? Is it "the job is going to be done by me". How do I explain the transform according to the rules of voice change?

Hello amikrishnendu,

Yes, that looks correct to me. In general, the idea is to make the object of the active verb into the subject of the passive verb. And the subject of the active verb becomes the agent of the passive verb, often expressed in a prepositional phrase with 'by'. Is that what you mean?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

In the given sentence "go" which is an intransitive verb is used in the progressive tense and "do" is in infinitive form. How do I get the 'main transitive verb' required in a voice change?

Hello again amikrishnendu,

Although 'do' in a non-finite verb here, it still has an object ('job') and so is still transitive. So there is only one transitive verb ('do') in your sentence. I'd say that is the one you should use.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
I have a question about using by and with in passive voice. For e.g. The letter was written
by me. The letter was written with a pen. I was told we use by for persons and with for agents but sometims I come acorss sentences like for eg. There were several accidents caused by the icy conditions. The buldings were destroyed by tsunami/tidal wave.
Acooding to my knowledge they are agents so why we use 'by'
Please help me to understand this.
Thank you.
Andrew international

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

Pages