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 Widescreen,

That is not a correct sentence. I'm afraid we don't provide answers to tasks from elsewhere as we cannot offer a service of doing people's homework or tests for them! If we tried then we would never have time for anything else.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir,
He's broken his arm.
Is it a passive sentence or an active?

Hi sir,
thank you for your reply. My question is, when something happened accidentally, is it possible to keep in active voice?or could I say,
He has been broken his arm.
Do they have same meaning?

Hello dlis,

That sentence isn't correct, but you could say 'his arm has been broken' if you wanted to use the passive, but it is rarely used compared to the active. I know it might sound strange, but people use the active sentence much more often, even to talk about accidents. The active voice doesn't imply that someone broke their arm on purpose.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello dlis,

That is an active sentence. It is an example of the present perfect (has + past participle).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

If I had to convert this into an indirect speech, then?
He said, " when I was a child, I wasn't afraid of ghosts".
I think it should be : He said that when he had been a child, he was not afraid of ghosts..?
whats wrong here.

Hello Karan gupta,

There is no need to change the verb form here:

He said that when he was a child, he was not afraid of ghosts.

Verbs in simple past or past progressive tend not to shift back in sentences with 'when' and 'if'.

Please note that this page is not related to reported speech. It is helpful if questions can be posted on relevant pages so that other users can find them when they are studying a given topic.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Which one is correct??
You are known by me .
You are known to me.
explain please

Hello Arvind Kumar Singh,

Without knowing the context or what you want to say, it's difficult to say which is correct, though I can say that the second one is probably more common than the first. If you have a context in mind, please explain and we'll do our best to help you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team