Passive Voice


Definition : The passive voice is a specific grammatical construction; not every expression that serves to take focus away from the performer of an action is classified as an instance of passive voice

Use of Passive 
Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. It is not important or not known, however, who or what is performing the action.
Example: My bike was stolen.
In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it.
Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows:
Example: A mistake was made.

Form of Passive
Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle (3rd column of irregular verbs)
Example: A letter was written.
When rewriting active sentences in passive voice, note the following:
·     the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence
·     the finite form of the verb is changed (to be + past participle)
·     the subject of the active sentence becomes the object of the passive sentence (or is dropped)

Examples of Passive

Tense
Subject
Verb
Object
Simple Present
Active:
Rita
writes
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
is written
by Rita.
Simple Past
Active:
Rita
wrote
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
was written
by Rita.
Present Perfect
Active:
Rita
has written
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
has been written
by Rita.
Future I
Active:
Rita
will write
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
will be written
by Rita.
Hilfsverben
Active:
Rita
can write
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
can be written
by Rita.
Examples of Passive Description: Level 4
Tense
Subject
Verb
Object
Present Progressive
Active:
Rita
is writing
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
is being written
by Rita.
Past Progressive
Active:
Rita
was writing
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
was being written
by Rita.
Past Perfect
Active:
Rita
had written
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
had been written
by Rita.
Future II
Active:
Rita
will have written
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
will have been written
by Rita.
Conditional I
Active:
Rita
would write
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
would be written
by Rita.
Conditional II
Active:
Rita
would have written
a letter.
Passive:
A letter
would have been written
by Rita.
Passive Sentences with Two Objects Description: Level 3
Rewriting an active sentence with two objects in passive voice means that one of the two objects becomes the subject, the other one remains an object. Which object to transform into a subject depends on what you want to put the focus on.

Subject
Verb
Object 1
Object 2
Active:
Rita
wrote
a letter
to me.
Passive:
A letter
was written
to me
by Rita.
Passive:
I
was written
a letter
by Rita.


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