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The Passive Voice

The passive voice of any transitive verb is made by combining its past participle with the appropriate tense of the verb "to be". The general rule may look as follows:

" To be + past participle "
Active Passive
  • Infinitive
  • Perfect infinitive
  • Participle & Gerund
  • Perfect participle & gerund
  • Common Expression
  • To choose
  • To have chosen
  • Choosing
  • Having Chosen
  • They say
  • To be chosen
  • To have been chosen
  • Being chosen
  • Having been chosen
  • It is said that...


Present tense
  1. ACTIVE:-The police arrest five people every night.
    • PASSIVE:-Every night five people are arrested.
  2. ACTIVE:-People drink a lot of tea in Morocco.
    • PASSIVE:-A lot of tea is drunk in Morocco.

Present perfect:
  1. ACTIVE:-They haven't cleaned the blackboard.
    • PASSIVE:-The blackboard hasn't been cleaned.
  2. ACTIVE:-They have already done the task.
    • PASSIVE:-The task has already been done.

Simple Past:
  1. ACTIVE:-The doctor ordered me to stay in bed.
    • PASSIVE:-I was ordered to stay in bed.
  2. ACTIVE:-They brought the children an ice-cream each.
    • PASSIVE:-Each child has been brought an ice-cream.

  1. ACTIVE:-They will send the letter tomorrow.
    • PASSIVE:-The letter will be sent tomorrow.
  2. ACTIVE:-They will look after you well.
    • PASSIVE:-You will be well looked after.

Continuous actions:
  1. ACTIVE:-They are building a new bridge on the river.
    • PASSIVE:-A new bridge is being built on the river.
  2. ACTIVE:-They are cutting down all the trees in the area.
    • PASSIVE:-All the trees in the area are being cut down.

With Modals:
  1. ACTIVE:-Mothers must take care of their babies.
    • PASSIVE:-The babies must be taken care of.
  2. ACTIVE:-Someone can't have shut the door properly.
    • PASSIVE:-The door can't have been shut properly.

Common Expressions:
  1. ACTIVE:-They say that figs are better than bananas.
    • PASSIVE:-It is said that figs are better than bananas.

Reflexive passive form:
  1. ACTIVE:-Don't let people hear you.
    • PASSIVE:-Don't let yourself be heard.

Recapitulation : EXAMPLES WITH THE VERB (to keep).

Tense / verb form Active form Passive form
  • simple present
  • present continuous
  • simple past
  • past continuous
  • present perfect
  • past perfect
  • future
  • present infinitive
  • perfect infinitive
  • conditional
  • present participle/gerund
  • perfect participle
  • keeps/keep
  • is/are keeping
  • kept
  • was/were keeping
  • have/has kept
  • had kept
  • will keep
  • to keep
  • to have kept
  • would keep
  • keeping
  • having kept
  • is/are kept
  • is/are being kept
  • was/were kept
  • was/were being kept
  • have/has been kept
  • had been kept
  • will be kept
  • to be kept
  • to have been kept
  • would be kept
  • being kept
  • having been kept
Mohammed Abdesselami

Passive Voice Home Page