We use the passive voice in 3 situations:
- When the subject is not known
e.g. Someone killed the president
The president was killed (by someone)
- When the subject is obvious
e.g. The cleaner has cleaned the office
The office has been cleaned (by the cleaner)
- 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
- Object – singular or plural
- Tense – conjugate the verb to be in this tense
- Verb – past participle
- Subject – can it be omitted? (unknown, obvious, irrelevant)
- 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|