We use the passive voice in 3 situations:
- When the subject is not known
e.g. Someone killed the president
The president was killed (by someone)
- When the subject is obvious
e.g. The cleaner has cleaned the office
The office has been cleaned (by the cleaner)
- When the subject is not important
e.g. Alex Huckle eats all of the pies.
All of the pies are eaten by Alex Huckle
Form: how to build your own phrases
OBJECT + TO BE + PARTICIPLE + + BY + SUBJECT
+ My car was fixed by the mechanic.
– The window was smashed by the football.
? Was the lesson taught by the head teacher?
For extra practice click HERE and access our free PDF exercises.
The best way to form the passive is with this simple 5 step rule:
Active = The man swept the floor last Friday.
Passive = The floor was swept by the man last Friday.
*you can omit by the man because it is irrelevant
- Object – singular or plural
- Tense – conjugate the verb to be in this tense
- Verb – past participle
- Subject – can it be omitted? (unknown, obvious, irrelevant)
- Complements – extra information
An important part of the passive is knowing how to conjugate the verb to be.
Present simple = is/are
Present continuous = is/are being
Present perfect = has/have been
Past perfect = had been
Past simple = was/were
Going to = is/are going to be
Would = would be
Can = can be
Will = will be
Must = must be
Could = could be
Might = might be
Should = should be
Modal perfect = would/could/might/should have been
PRACTICE YOUR SPEAKING WITH PASSIVES HERE
- What could be done to control the amount we use technology?
- When was the last time you had your car fixed?
- Is it said in your country that social media is very addictive?
- Will language learning be made easier thanks to technology?
- Who was your company set up by?
- Have you ever had your computer repaired by a professional?
- How will education be influenced by technology in the future?
- Is it widely believed that we are becoming very addicted to technology?
- Has your life been improved by technology?
- What would you do if you go mugged in the street?
- Is it thought that technology will change the way we live in the future?
- Is technology generally considered to have a good impact on our lives?
- Could your job be replaced by something technological like a robot or a computer?
- Who have you been taught English by?
- Is it said that the internet is a reliable source of information?
You might also want to check out the other passive forms.