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

Section: 

Comments

Hello,
I have started learning English, so i am confused and i don't understand the exact meaning of this sentence: "As for the plants recently cultivated". Is it in passive tense or in active?
Could you please explain it, and if it's in passive, why there is no any verb like "are" or "were" before "cultivated"?
Thank you so much.

Hello frasha,

That is not a complete sentence, so I'm not surprised that you find it difficult to parse. It might be a phrase with ellipsis (i.e. words left out: 'As for the plants (that were) recently cultivated') I'm afraid I can't explain it without knowing the wider context.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Good evening sir,

The whole context is: "As for the plants recently cultivated in the section, they are numerous."
What i want to know, about the first part the verb "cultivated", is it in passive or not? If it's in passive, where is the verb "were" or "are"? And if it's not, what is the exact meaning of this part? I can't understand it

Thank you sir in advance.

Hello frasha,

This is an example of a reduced relative clause. You can rewrite the sentence with the full relative clause as follows:

As for the plants which have been recently cultivated in the section, they are numerous.

 

As you can see, the past participle 'cultivated' is indeed part of a passive construction. Of course, depending on the context it may be that a past simple form rather than present perfect is needed.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir for reply.

Hello,

Could you please explain this sentence for me "Prices to be set " how can we use "to" in a passive form?!

Thanks in advance

Hello Hagar28,

This isn't really a sentence as it has no main verb. Without knowing the context you saw it in, I can't say for sure, but I imagine that the verb 'are' has been omitted. This is an example of a passive infinitive. The passive voice requires the verb 'be' (here in infinitive form) and the past participle, both of which are present here.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Good day,
The whole sentence is "Prices to be set when the collection arrives". I guess it's a future tense but in a passive form, So it's not very clear for me why we didn't use "will be set" instead of "to be set" and when we use it?

Thanks in advance &Best Regards,
Hagar28

Hello hagar28,

That sentence is technically incomplete, though this doesn't mean that people don't say it or write it this way. Really the complete sentence would have the word 'are' before the infinitive. There's an explanation of the way the infinitive is used here on this archived BBC page.

Or you could say 'will be set' instead of 'are to be set' -- they mean the same thing.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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