It’s time for Passive Voice!

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Dear students,

Find a detailed explanation and examples of Passive Voice for you to check them out:

Functions of the Passive Voice

1) The passive voice is used to show interest in the person or object that experiences an action rather than the person or object that performs the action. In other words, the most important thing or person becomes the subject of the sentence.

EXAMPLES
  • The passive voice is used frequently. (= we are interested in the passive voice, not in who uses it.)
  • The house was built in 1654. (= we are interested in the house, not in who built it.)
  • The road is being repaired. (= we are interested in the road, not in the people who are doing the repairs.)

2) Sometimes we use the passive voice because we don’t know or do not want to express who performed the action.

EXAMPLES
  • I noticed that a window had been left open.
  • Every year thousands of people are killed on our roads.
  • All the cookies have been eaten.
  • My car has been stolen!

If we want to say who or what performs the action while using the passive voice, we use the preposition by. When we know who performed the action and are interested in him, it is always better to switch to the active voice instead.

Passive Active
“A Hard Day’s Night” was written by the Beatles. The Beatles wrote “A Hard Day’s Night”.
The movie ET was directed by Spielberg. Spielberg directed the movie ET.
This house was built by my father. My father built this house.

Forming the Passive Voice

The passive voice in English is composed of two elements: the appropriate form of the verb ‘to be’ + past participle.

Examples with the verb “TO CLEAN” : Subject + to be (conjugated) + past participle + rest of sentence

Simple present: The house is cleaned every day.
Present continuous: The house is being cleaned at the moment.
Simple past: The house was cleaned yesterday.
Past continuous: The house was being cleaned last week.
Present perfect: The house has been cleaned since you left.
Past perfect: The house had been cleaned before they arrived.
Future: The house will be cleaned next week.

Taken and adapted from: http://www.edufind.com/english-grammar/passive-voice/

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