SIMPLE PASSIVE VOICE
There are two voices
in English, the active and the passive. The active
tells us what the subject does, for example:
The secretary wrote a letter.
The passive tells
us what is done to the subject. For example:
The letter was written by the secretary.
The passive is made
with the verb "to be" and the past participle.
Here are the main English tenses used in the
How to construct the
1. Check to see if the active sentence contains an
John ate an
Passive is possible.
John ate yesterday.
Passive is not possible.
2. Move the object to the front of the
sentence. Put the original subject in a by
An apple (V) by John.
3. Put the verb in the form be +3 (of main verb)
An apple be eaten by John.
4. Put the be in the same tense as the original
An apple was/were eaten by John. ( past tense)
5. Make the first verb agree with the new subject.
An apple was eaten by John.
will be being
would have been
planted every year
planted here for 10
planted until last
planted during the
planted if we had
planted if we had
To state what the
cause of a passive action is, you can use
by. For example:
- This photo was taken
by my friend.
- I was given this by
It is often not
necessary to statethe cause of a passive action,
especially when clearly understood or irrelevant.
- The meeting was cancelled. (The
meeting's cancellation is what is important, not
who cancelled it.)
- These boots were made in
Italy. (The fact they were made in Italy is what's
important, not who made them.)
When talking abut the
birth of specific people of things we use the
passive form "to be born". For example:
- I was
born in Iran.
- The twins were born just last
Get can be
used instead of to be in situations where
something happens. For example:
- Our flight
got cancelled = Our flight was
- I got paid today = I
was paid today.
Get can't be
used with general situations and state verbs
(verbs that express a state, not an action). For
- He is liked by a lot of
people. - OK
gets liked by a
lot of people. - Incorrect.
- She is
known to be a hard-working employee. - OK
gets known to be a hard-working
Get is used more
often in informal English.