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. 





Hello paparna1986,

LearnEnglish is a site which is offered entirely free of charge by the British Council. We have many thousands of users and a small team to provide support. Please note that while all of us are teachers, we are not your individual teachers; we provide what help we can to our community and deal with hundreds of comments every week. The comments sections have a particular role on the site, described on this page in the section entitled 'What are the comments sections for?' 

In the last few days you have posted five questions - more than one per day - and each of these has been answered within twenty-four hours, sometimes with lengthy answers providing explanations, links and examples, and all of this, as I mentioned, has been provided entirely free of charge. We hope the help we provide is useful to you and wish you good luck in your studies.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

is non-finite and infinitive one and the same

Hello paparna1986,

Verb forms can be divided into two categories: finite and non-finite. You can see the definitions for each on the pages linked.

The infinitive is one particular form of the verb. It is one of the non-finite forms. The words 'non-finite' and 'infinitive' are confusingly similar, but they are quite different. The infinitive is one form; non-finite describes all forms which fit certain criteria.

The term 'finite' and 'non-finite' are linguistic terms which are useful for academic analysis of the language system, but are not particularly useful for learning to use the language, which is why we do not focus on the distinction on this site. Our focus is on meaning and use, not technical linguistic analysis.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

what will be the passive voice of the following sentences :-

1. She dare not disobey me.

Hello omeshwar narain,

In this sentence, 'dare' is used intransitively; intransitive verbs have no passive form. Therefore I'm afraid there is no direct way of transforming this into the passive voice.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

How to change the sentences that include "be used to" to passive. Like this one :

"We are used to living in the city now".

Hello Msqawasmeh1,

I'm afraid that 'be used to' doesn't have a passive form. This is because the verb in this construction is 'be', and 'be' doesn't have a passive form. 'used to living' is almost like an adjective, just as in 'I'm tired'; although 'tired' is formed from the verb 'tire', in this case it is used as an adjective.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Aha! Ok, i saw some people on facebook were asking questions about changing sentences from active to passive and other changes in english, i read this sentence "It is familiar for us to live in the city now" they changed it to "We are used to be living in the city now" is there any common thing between these two sentences? Is it right that there are changes for senences which start with 'it is familiar' or 'it is normal' like the changes from active to passive? Thank you.

Hello Msqawasmeh1,

No, not especially. Those other sentences make sense, but there is no direct grammatical relation between the two forms.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I found a question in an english book for 12th about sentences transformations. The book called "action pack" by Cheryl pelteret, Liz kilbey and Judith greet. The question is "Complete the second sentence so that it has the same meaning as the first".

The third sentence is "It is normal for me now to get up early to study" they transformed it to "I am used to getting up early to study now".

They used "be used to".

I don't what just happened here, is there an rule in English talks about transforming sentences from "It is familiar" or "It is normal" to "be used to" sentences? I didn't find anything like that on internet! So what is this rule? Thank you!