Passive voice

Passive voice

Perhaps the passive voice can be called one of the most difficult topics to learn in English, because you have to memorize about a dozen new rules for the formation of tenses. 

What is passive voice 

The passive voice in English is a grammatical construction in which the one who performs the action is not important or unknown. That is, we know only the one over whom it is performed. 

When to use 

  1. When there is no performer of the action

My wallet has been stolen! 

  1. Action is more important than who does it

The school concert will be held next Friday. 

  1. Known fact

Romeo and Juliet was written by Shakespeare. 

  1. Recipe

The potatoes are cut and then added to other vegetables 

  1. Great formality and courtesy

Has our meeting been cancelled? 

  1. Scientific reports

Many articles have been written about this problem 

  1. Adverse event

The report has been written very bad 


Simple in passive 

The simplest thing in the passive voice is the form in which the verb is used. There are only two things worth remembering here - the third form for irregular verbs, and the suffix -ed already familiar to us for regular ones. 


The most difficult thing is that you have to re-learn and memorize the formulas for the formation of times. At first it will not be easy, because the auxiliary verbs are familiar, but the tense in which they are used is not.  




Present Simple  

am/is/are + V3 

An action that happens regularly. 

Present Continuous  

Am/is/are + being + V3  

The action takes place at the moment of speaking. 

Present Perfect  

Have/has + been + V3 

The action has taken place recently, but the emphasis is on the result. 

Past Simple  

Was/were + V3  

Action done in the past. 

Past Continuous  

Was/were + being + V3 

The action was in progress at a particular moment in the past. 

Past Perfect  

Had + been + V3  

An action ended before a certain point in the past, or before another action began. 

Future Simple  

Will/shall + V3 

An action that may take place in the future. 

Future Perfect  

Will/shall + have + been + V3 

The action will end in the future up to a certain point. 


Modal verbs in the passive 

Modal verbs can also be used in the passive voice. To form sentences, be is added to them and the semantic verb in the third form or with the suffix -ed. The result is a construct that expresses probability rather than certainty. 

  • must be 
  • have to be 
  • ought to be 
  • can be 
  • should be 
  • be supposed to be 
  • may be 
  • might be 

Examples of using passive voice 

  • The cat is washed every week.  
  • The cat was washed yesterday.  
  • The cat will be washed tomorrow.  
  • The cat is being washed at the moment.  
  • The cat was being washed when he bit me.  
  • The cat looks so fluffy! It has been washed recently.  
  • The cat had been washed before I bought a new shampoo.  
  • The cat will have been washed tomorrow by the time you come home.  
  • Where were you born?  
  • Are vegetables cooked? 
  • You must be shocked after receiving the news. 
  • The work can be done later.