LET'S LEARN AND WRITE IN ENGLISH


The passive voice



1) Uses of thepassive voice:

a) We use the passive voice when we want to focus on the action rather thanwho is doing the action.
e.g: Three apples areeaten by Ahmed
b)   The passive voice is used when what or who causes the action is unknownor unimportant
e.g: Three apples areeaten

2)   Rules of thepassive voice:

a.   The passive of an active tense is formed by putting the verb “be” intothe same tense as the active verbs and adding the past participle of the activeverb. The subject of the active verb becomes the agent of the passive verb.

b.   A sentence containing a direct and indirect object could have twopassive forms.
e.g:  Ahmed gave her abook ............   she was given abook/  a book was given to her
c.   In colloquial speech “get” is sometimes used instead of “be”:
e.g: the eggs were broken  ↔  the eggs got broken 
  d.   Active tenses and their passive equivalents :



Tenses
Active form
Passive form
Simple present
Jane  writes a letter/ letters
S
A letter is written
P
 letters are written
Present continuous
Jane is writing a letter/ letters
S
A letter is being written
P
 letters are being written
Simple past
Jane wrote a letter / letters
S
A letter was written
P
Letters were written
Past continuous
Jane was writing a letter / letters
S
A letter was being written
P
Letters were being written
Present  perfect simple
Jane has written a letter/ letters
S
A letter has been written
P
Letters have been written
Past perfect simple
Jane had written a letter / letters
S
A letter had been written
P
Letters had been written
future
Jane will write a letter/ letters
S
A letter will be written
P
Letters will be written


e.   With modals (must, may, should, would, could, might…….) the passive isformed in this way:
Modal+ be + the past participle of the verb

e.g:  you must paythe bill  ...........  the bill must be paid
you should respect your teacher  ........... your teacher should be respected

f.   With verbs such as “say, think, believe, assume, show, consider, expect,require….” The passive is formed in two ways.

e.g: people say that mobilephones are harmful to children’s health
----  It is said/ believed/ thought that mobile phones areharmful to children’s health.
----- Mobile phones are said/ believed/ thought to be harmful to children’shealth.

  g.   Thepassive voice with questions:


active
passive
What did they steal?
When/where/why did he paint it?
Is he preparing the party?
Who painted it?
What was stolen?
When/where/why was it painted?
Is the party being prepared by here?
Who was it painted by?