We use the passive voice in 3 situations:

  1. When the subject is not known

e.g. Someone killed the president

The president was killed (by someone)

  1. When the subject is obvious

e.g. The cleaner has cleaned the office

The office has been cleaned (by the cleaner)

  1. When the subject is not important

e.g. Alex Huckle eats all of the pies.

All of the pies are eaten by Alex Huckle


For extra practice click HERE and access our free PDF exercises.


The best way to form the passive is with this simple 5 step rule:

Active =         The man swept the floor last Friday.

Passive =       The floor was swept by the man last Friday.

*you can omit by the man because it is irrelevant

  1. Object – singular or plural
  2. Tense – conjugate the verb to be in this tense
  3. Verb – past participle
  4. Subject – can it be omitted? (unknown, obvious, irrelevant)
  5. Complements – extra information


An important part of the passive is knowing how to conjugate the verb to be.

Present simple = is/are Past simple = was/were
Present continuous = is/are being Present perfect = has/have been
Going to = is/are going to be Will = will be
Would = would be Must = must be
Can = can be Could = could be
Past perfect = had been Modal perfect = would/could/might have been




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