Passive Voice

  • in an active sentence the subject is the person or thing that does the action ( the agent):

Subject ( agent)      verb        object

The boy                   broke      the glass

  • In a passive sentence the subject is the object of the active sentence. If we wish to include the agent, we use the preposition by:
  • Active:     Subject ( agent)         verb        object
  •                 The boy                      broke      the glass
  • Passive:  Subject                      passive verb      (by + agent)
  •                The glass                was broken        by the boy

The passive is formed with subject + verb to be+ past participle




  • The passive is used when the main focus of a sentence is something other than the agent:

When the agent is not important:

Bungee-jumping was invented in New Zealand. ( By whom is not important so we leave it out)


  • When the agent is obvious or unknown:

The murderer was arrested. ( Obviously the police arrested him)

  • We use the pasive to describe processess:

The bottles are cleaned.They are made into new bottles and they are used for beer, sauces, water, etc.Then they are taken to the recycling plant.


Exercise on Passive Voice – Simple Present

Rewrite the sentences in passive voice.

  1. He opens the door. –
  2. We set the table. –
  3. She pays a lot of money. –
  4. I draw a picture. –
  5. They wear blue shoes. –
  6. They don’t help you. –
  7. He doesn’t open the book. –
  8. You do not write the letter. –
  9. Does your mum pick you up? –
  10. Does the police officer catch the thief? –