Unit 4.2

Passive Voice of Verbs


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Introduction

Passive form is used to express the idea of something or someone receiving an action or experiencing a particular event or effect.

Form

We can form the passive forms by using the tenses of the auxiliary verb to be and the past participle of the main verb:
Subject + to be + past participle + …

We can use the passive structure in every tense:

  • present simple: The car is cleaned. / The cars are cleaned.
  • present perfect: The car has been cleaned. / The cars have been cleaned.
  • past simple: The car was cleaned. / The cars were cleaned.
  • past perfect: The car had been cleaned. / The cars had been cleaned.
  • future simple: The car will be cleaned. / The cars will be cleaned.
  • future perfect: The car will have been cleaned. / The cars will have been cleaned.
  • present continuous: The car is being cleaned. / The cars are being cleaned.
  • past continuous: The car was being cleaned. / The cars were being cleaned.

Example

  • She must wear helmet in the construction area. ⇒ Helmets must be worn in the construction area.
  • The woman is helping the old lady sit up. ⇒  The old lady is being helped to sit up by the woman.
  • The cat has scratched her owner. ⇒  The owner has been scratched by his cat.
  • He gave a tender kiss to his wife. ⇒  His wife was given a tender kiss.
  • We will complete the project on time. ⇒ The project will be completed on time.

Use

We use the passive verb forms when we want to give importance to the object that undergoes the action.

Summary

The passive form expresses the idea of something or someone receiving an action or experiencing a particular event or effect.

We form the passive forms with the auxiliary verb to be and the past participle of the main verb. We can use the passive form in all the verb tenses: present simple, present perfect, past simple, past perfect, future simple, future perfect, present continuous and past continuous.

For example:
— Active form: “We  completed the project on time.” = We is the subject of the active sentence.
— Passive form: “The project was completed on time.” = The project is the subject of the passive sentence. Was completed is in the passive voice.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

Exercises

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