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  
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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

Comments

"What class does he read in?" - What is the passive voice of the active voice? Is it possible to transfer it into passive? Explain, please.

Hello Ataur Rahman,

Passive voice is only possible when we have a transitive verb, meaning a verb which has a direct object. Your sentence does not contain such a verb and so no passive is possible.

A more natural way to say this, I think, would be to use 'study' instead of 'read', or to simply say 'What class is he in?' Neither of these sentences have passive forms either.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Can this sentence be changed into passive:

Flowers have grown all over the field.

Hello Mansoor Banglani,

'Grow' here is an intransitive verb (it has no object) and so no passive voice is possible.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I wanted to know If we can turn the following sentences into the passive :

(i) I wanted to do that a week ago.
(ii) What will he think, if we are late again?

It is taught that intransitive verbs have no passive counterparts.In the dictionary entries for 'want' and 'think' both are described as being transitive and intransitive. I, therefore, cannot decide whether 'want to' (in sentence 1) and 'think' (in the main clause of sentence 2) can be used in the passive or not.
Please, help me out.
Thank you in advance!

Hi Prap,

Neither 'want' nor 'think' are intransitive verbs because they can both take an object ('I want some tea', 'I think thoughts'). That said, it is a bit unusual to use them passively. You can say 'This child is wanted' or 'It is thought that', but these are not used in a general context as an alternative to the active voice.

You could make the second clause of (i) passive and get a natural-sounding sentence: 'I wanted that to be done a week ago'. A passive version of (ii) ('What will be thought if we are late again?'), however, is very strange indeed, precisely because this kind of question is focusing on the person who does the thinking, and that person is de-emphasised in the passive voice.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Really , I cannot understand this example of passive voice .
Someone sent her a cheque for a thousand euros >> She was sent a cheque for a thousand euros.
I understood that should be A cheque for 1000 euros was sent to her .
Please could you help me . Thanks

Hello fernandoricagno,

Give is an example of a very with two objects, one direct (her in your example) and one indirect (a cheque). This verb can form active sentences in two ways (I'll simplify your example to make the explanation clearer):

1 - Paul sent a cheque to her.

2 - Paul sent her a cheque.

 

The passive form is different for each:

1 - A cheque was sent to her (by Paul)

2 - She was sent a cheque (by Paul)

 

You can read a detailed explanation of why this is the case on this page if you're interested in the grammatical justification.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

is it correct to use "Issue is arisen..."

Hello sandyA,

I think two changes are needed. First of all, we would not use 'is' here but (depending on the context) you could say has arisen. Second, you would need an article so you would say either an issue or the issue, again depending on the context.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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