What is the Passive Voice and How to Use It?

What do we mean by 'voice'?

Voice is the form of the verb that shows whether the subject of a sentence does the action (=the active voice) or is affected by it (= the passive voice)


What does ''active'' and ''passive'' mean?

In the active voice, the agent/actor (person or thing doing the action) is the subject of the sentence.

For example:


"A dog bit the postman."

And now , in the passive voice, the agent is either unknown or less important, we focus on the action itself.

For example: "The postman was bitten". (The agent is not known or not specified)

or "The postman was bitten by the dog". (The agent "the dog" is less important here than the object '' the postman")


How do we form the passive voice?


In creating sentences in the passive voice, it is important to remember that we use the third form of the verb , called past partciple.

For example:

VERB 1 - bite VERB 2 - bit VERB 3 - bitten

"The postman was bitten yesterday."


Why use the passive voice?

The passive voice is more common in written English than in spoken one.

  • It is often used in newspapers, in the media, and in academic writing or formal correspondence.

" A new bridge is being built at the Hoover Dam".


  • It also enables you to speak more neutrally about things, rather than using your own opinions:

"It is said that...."

It is believed that......"

  • It is also important to understand the passive voice when reading texts, to avoid misunderstandings.

The passive is used:

1. When we don't know who performed the action:

President Bush was murdered yesterday evening.

2. When what happens is more important than who does it:

My car was badly damaged last night in a hailstorm.

3. When the person who does the action is people in general:

Private Property. Trespassers will be prosecuted.

Some real passive voice examples:

"Taxes will be raised next year" (newspaper headline, radio news)

"The swimming pool is being closed because it is being cleaned" (a notice)

"The concert tonight has been cancelled because the guitarist is ill" (this is present perfect passive)

Now see how much you have learned about passive voice doing this GRAMMAR QUIZ!:)

(complete the questions using the correct form of the verb and tense in each line, then answer the question. Good luck!)


1. Where/ the first underground/ build?
a)1997 b) 2001 c) 2005
2) When/eBay/ lunch?
a) 1994, b 1995 c) 1996
3)When /the euro/introduce?
a) 1999 b) 2002 c) 2003
4) Where/haggis/eat?
a) Poland b) Turkey c) Scotland
5) Where/ the Internet/ first/ develop?
a)the USA b) Russia c) the UK
6) Where /Welsh/ speak/ outside Wales?
a) Peru b) Portugal c) Patagonia
7) Whe /the credit card /invent?
a)1950 b) 1960 c) 1970
8) Where / ice cream/first/ produce?
a) China b) Italy c) the USA
9) When /Facebook/ create?
a)2005 b) 2004 c) 2008
10) When /antibiotics/ introduce?
a)1920s b) 1950s c) 1930s

Tags ingles,dicasdeingles,inglese,inglesfacil,aprendaingles,английскийязык,урокианглийского,英语教学 #英语学习,урокианглійської,learnenglish,english,grammar,passive voice,letslearnenglish

Joanna Kawrow 03-11-2016

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