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The  Passive voice

What is the Passive voice ?
 
A sentence generally begins with the performer of the action(subject),then the verb, then the object or person that the action is performed on.This is called Active sentence.
  • Subject   verb
  • John  called
If we begin the sentence with the object or person that the action is performed on, we formulate a passive sentence.

Object + verb

  • The car was fixed.
Not all of verbs in English take an object. Therefore, some sentences are complete without an object.
  • David ate well.
  • David lives far away.
This type of sentence cannot be changed into the passive voice.

When should we use the passive voice?

We do not know who the subject is, or it is not important who the subject is.
  • Somebody fixed the car.The car was fixed.
When it is obvious to the listener or reader who the subject is because it is the person who usually does it.
  • The mechanic fixed the car.The car was fixed.

How to formulate the Passive voice?

To formulate a passive sentence, put the object of the verb at the beginning of your sentence. Conjugate the verb to be in the same sentence in the same tense as the active sentence.
 
Put the main verb in the past participle form.
  • The chef cooks the meal.The meal is cooked.
  • The builder is building my house. My house is being built.
  • Someone ate his lunch.His lunch was eaten.
If you want to mention the subject in a passive sentence, use by.
  • My car is being fixed by the mechanic.
If the active sentence begins with no-one or nobody,the passive sentence will be negative.
  • No-one drove the bus.
  • The bus was not driven.
If there is a preposition between the verb and the object ,the preposition remain after the verb.
  • They talked about the damage.The damage was talked about .

The passive voice of different Tenses

Tense
Active
Passive
Present simple
I do it.
It is done.
Past simple
I did it.
It was done.
Future simple
I will do it.
It will be done.
Present continuous
I am doing it.
It is being done.
Past continuous
I was doing it.
It was being done.
Futue continuous
I will be doing it.
It will being done.
Present perfect
I have done it.
It has been done.
Past perfect
I had done it.
It had been done.
Future perfect
I will have done it.
It will have been done .
Present perfect continuous
I have been doing it.
Not common
Past perfect continuous
I had been doing it.
Not common
Future perfect continuous
I will have been doing it.
Not common

 

The passive voice of other structures

In structures containing the infinitive.
 
Do be done
  Active Passive
Be going to I am going to do it It is going to be done.
Have to I have to do it. It has to be done.
Used to I used to do it. It used to be done.
Modals can,may etc. I can do it. It can be done.

In expressions containing the gerund

Doingbeing done

  • AvoidI avoid seeing her. Se avoids being seen.
  • MindI don’t mind teaching her. She doesn’t mind being taught.

Person in object position

We can also formulate passive sentences with a person in the object position.
  • Somebody pushed me.I was pushed.
  • They have invited us. we have been invited.
  • Someone was interviewing Jane. Jane was being interviewed.
Some sentences have both an object and a person in the object position.You can choose either on to formulate the passive sentence.
  • Someone handed me a knife.I was handed a knife.A knife was handed to me.
  • They have sent us a newpaper .we have been sent a newspaper.A newspaper has been sent to us.

Common mistakes

There are four common mistakes.
 
Changing the tense to a similar tense.
  • Someone has reported the thefts.The thefts were reported.The thefts have been reported.
  • They are going to build the cinema. A cinema will be built.A cinema is going to be built.
Forgetting the verb to be.
  • Someone has reported the incidents.The incidents have reported.The incidents have been reported.
  • They are going to build a church. A church is going to built.A church is going to be built.
Using the present participle instead of the past participle.
  • Someone has reported the incidents.The incidents have been report.The incidents have been reported.
  • They are going to build a church. A church is going to be building.A church is going to be built.
Plural/singular confusion.
  • Someone has reported the incidents.The incidents has been reported.The incidents have been reported.
  • They are going to build a church.A church are going to be built.A church is going to be built.

 

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