How to use the Passive Voice
The passive voice is used to display someone or something that affected from an action. Also it is used when we don’t want to mention or we don’t know who performed the action.
In the sentence we have to have a transitive verb to get a passive sentence. For instance, there have to be verbs like – give, use, wash and buy. Otherwise, if there are intransitive verbs like – cry, go, seem, and happen, we can’t get a passive sentence.
- Active: My grandfather buys the newspaper every day.
- Passive: The newspaper is bought by my grandfather every day.
- Active: The baby cries nearly every midnight. ( There is no object )
The object that in the active sentence is transformed to the subject and used by showing attention to time harmony. Present and past participle are used in the tense combination.
Active and Passive Voice Table
|Present Simple||He cleans the carpet.||The carpet is cleaned by him.|
|Present Progressive||He is cleaning the carpet.||The carpet is being cleaned by him.|
|Past Simple||He cleaned the carpet.||The carpet was cleaned by him.|
|Past Progressive||He was cleaning the carpet.||The carpet was being cleaned by him.|
|Present Perfect||He has cleaned the carpet.||The carpet has been cleaned by him.|
|Past Perfect||He had cleaned the carpet.||The carpet had been cleaned by him.|
|Simple Future||He will clean the carpet.||The carpet will be cleaned by him.|
|Be going to||He is going to clean the carpet.||The carpet is going to be cleaned by him.|
|Future Perfect||He will have cleaned the carpet.||The carpet will have been cleaned by him.|
|Modal||He should clean the carpet.||The carpet should be cleaned by him.|
|Modal Perfect||He should have cleaned the carpet.||The carpet should have been cleaned by him.|
“By-phrase” is used to indicate who performed the action. It is used if it’s important to define the person performing the action. If not, it is enough to define just the action.
- Active: China invented the compass.
- Passive: The compass was invented by China.
- Active: They make clothes of cotton.
- Passive: Clothes are made of cotton.
While question words are used in a passive sentence, the same rules are followed. However, there is some important points that should be paid attention. One of them is using the question word “who”; We use it, if we want to figure out who performed the action. We also have to use “by”. For instance;
- Who invented the ink?
- Who was the ink invented by?
The purpose of this passive question is to find out the subject. Another situation is using of the question word “what”; We use it in order to learn the subject. If there is no object in an active question sentence to get a subject in the passive question sentence, in this case, we use present and past participle together with the tense combination to get a passive question sentence. For example;
- What are we going to do?
It is an active question sentence and in order to make it a passive question sentence, we transform it into;
- What is going to be done?