♔ THE PASSIVE

key_small  The passive voice or form is formed with the appropriate form of TO BE + THE PAST PARTICIPLE.

 

A. We use the active form of a verb to say what a subject does.

Example: The waiter brings drinks every day.

 

B. We use the passive form to say what happens to the subject.

Example: Drinks are brought every day.

 

C.  The subject of a passive verb corresponds to the object of an active verb.

Example: Drinks are brought every day. (Passive)  /   The waiter brings drinks every day. (Active)

 

D.  We also use the passive form of a verb when it is not important who does the action, or when we don't know who does it. In other words, the most important thing or person becomes the subject of the sentence.

Example: The letter was delivered at 9 a.m.

The identity of the person who delivered the letter is unknown or unimportant.

If we want to say who does the action, we use by :

Example: The letter was delivered at 9 a.m. by the postman.

 

TENSEACTIVE FORMPASSIVE FORM
PRESENT SIMPLE The waiter brings the drinks The drinks are brought by the waiter
PRESENT CONTINUOUS The waiter is bringing the drinks The drinks are being brought by the waiter
PRESENT PERFECT The waiter has brought the drinks The drinks have been brought by the waiter
PAST SIMPLE The waiter brought the drinks The drinks were brought by the waiter
PAST CONTINUOUS The waiter was bringing the drinks The drinks were being brought by the waiter
PAST PERFECT The waiter had brought the drinks The drinks had been brought by the waiter
FUTURE SIMPLE The waiter will bring the drinks The drinks will be brought by the waiter
PRESENT CONDITIONAL The waiter would bring the drinks The drinks would be brought by the waiter
PAST CONDITIONAL The waiter would have brought the drinks The drinks would have been brought by the waiter
CAN The waiter can bring the drinks The drinks can be brought by the waiter

 

E.  Sometimes the passive is formed using the verb to get instead of the verb to be:

Example: He got arrested for dangerous driving. / They're getting married later this year.

 

'TO BE BORN' is a passive form and is most commonly used in the past tense:

Example: When were you born?   I was born in 1976.

BUT: Around 100 babies are born in this hospital every week.

NB: it is only Transitive Verbs which can have passive forms.

Intransitive Verbs, like cry, die, arrive, disappear, wait, which often describe physical behaviour, cannot be used in the passive voice. They have no objects, so there is nothing to become the subject of a passive sentence.

 

The Passive Form in English is used to translate ...

 

The French passive form: A new shop has been built.

Pronominal Verbs forms: That just isn't done. (Cela ne se fait pas)

The French "ON" : I've not been invited to the meeting. (On ne m'a pas invité à la réunion)

 

After reading this lesson you may want to do some exercises, then click HERE.

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