Passive Voice: Definition, Rules & Examples of Active vs Passive Voice

When writing in the passive voice, the subject no longer does an action but rather becomes acted upon. For example, the sentence ‘John threw the ball’ would become ‘The ball was thrown by John.’ In many cases, English professionals frown upon the use of the passive voice but it certainly does have its uses.

In this section, we are going to be taking a closer look at the passive voice and how it is used, giving you a stronger advantage when using it.

What is the Passive Voice?

What is the active voice? What is the passive voice? learn active voice definition & passive definition with examples.

Active Voice Definition

Generally, we tend to use the active voice – one of the two voices of verbs (active and passive voice). When the verb of a sentence is in the active voice, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb.

Active voice examples:

  • She would type the letters.
  • I visited my uncle last week.

Passive Voice Definition

The passive voice is a grammatical voice of verb where what would be the object of a corresponding active sentence becomes the subject of a sentence in the passive voice. The passive voice is formed with the appropriate tense of the verb to be + past participle.

Passive examples:

  • The letters would be typed by her.
  • My uncle was visited by me last week.

More active vs passive voice example sentences:

  • The snake might have killed him. (Active) –> He might have been killed by the snake. (Passive)
  • My father had Tom wash his car. (Active) –> My father had his car washed by Tom. (Passive)

Examples of active and passive voice for different tenses in English

Examples of active and passive voice for different tenses in English

Passive Voice Rules & Usage with Examples

The passive is used:

When the agent (= the person who does the action) is unknown, unimportant or obvious from the context.

Examples:

  • Jane was shot. (We don’t know who shot her.)
  • This house was built in 1815. (unimportant agent).

To make more polite or formal statements.

Examples:

  • The trees haven’t been watered. (more polite)
  • You haven’t watered the trees. (less polite)

When the action is more important than the agent, as in processes, instructions, events, reports, headlines, news items, and advertisements.

Example:

  • 60 people were killed in shootings across Chicago between Friday and Monday morning.

To put emphasis on the agent.

Example:

  • The new bar will be opened by Sean.

Active and Passive Voice for All Tenses

Learn active voice and passive voice rules, useful active vs passive definition and examples with ESL printable worksheets and video lessons.

Passive vs active voice for different tenses in English, please note that:

  • V1: Base Form of Verb
  • V2: Past Simple
  • V3: Past Participle

Active vs Passive Voice for Present Simple Tense

Active Voice: S + V1

Passive voice: S + am/ is/ are + V3

Example:

  • I make a cake. (Active)
  • A cake is made by me. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for Present Continuous Tense

Active voice: S + am/is/are + V-ing

The passive: S + am/ is/ are + being + V3

Example:

  • They are planting some trees. (Active)
  • Some trees are being planted. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for Present Perfect Tense

Active voice: S + have/ has + V3

Passive voice: S + have/ has + been + V3

Example:

  • Someone has eaten my muffin. (Active)
  • My muffin has been eaten. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Present Perfect Continuous

Active Voice:S + have/ has + been + V-ing

The Passive: S + have/ has + been + being + V3

Active and passive voice example:

  • Lisa has not been practicing English. (Active)
  • English has not been being practiced by Lisa. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Future with WILL

Active voice: S + will/ shall + V1

Passive voice: S + will be + V3

Active and passive voice example:

  • My parents will take us to the park. (Active)
  • We will be taken to the park by our parents. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Future with BE GOING TO

Active voice: S + am/ is/ are + going to + V1

Passive voice: S + am/ is/ are going to be + V3

Active and passive voice example:

  • I am going to read the book. (Active)
  • The book is going to be read by me. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for the Future Continuous with WILL

Active Voice: S + will/ shall + be + V-ing

The Passive: S + will/ shall + be + being + V3

Active and passive voice example:

  • She will be taking care of her children at this time tomorrow. (Active)
  • Her children will be being taken care of at this time tomorrow. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Future Continuous with BE GOING TO

Active voice: S + am/ is/ are + going to + be + V-ing.

Passive voice: S + am/ is/ are + going to + be + being + V3.

Example:

  • Linda is going to be preparing dinner. (Active)
  • Dinner is going to be being prepared by Linda. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for the Future Perfect with WILL

Active voice: S + will + have + V3

Passive voice: S + will have been + V3

Example:

  • I will have finished my report by the end of this month. (Active)
  • My report will have been finished by the end of this month.. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for the Future Perfect with BE GOING TO

Active voice: S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + V3

The Passive: S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + been + V3

Example:

  • I am going to have finished my report by the end of this month. (Active)
  • My report is going to have been finished by the end of this month. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Future Perfect Continuous with WILL

Active voice: S + will + have + been + V-ing

The Passive: S + will + have + been + being + V3

Example:

  • I will have been teaching English for 5 years by next week. (Active)
  • English will have been being taught by me for 5 years by next week. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for the Future Perfect Continuous with BE GOING TO

Active voice: S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + been + V-ing.

The Passive: S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + been + being + V3.

Example:

  • He is going to have been watching TV. (Active)
  • TV is going to have been being watched by him. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Past Simple

Active voice: S + V2

Passive voice: S + was/ were + V3

Example:

  • I visited my uncle last week. (Active)
  • My uncle was visited by me last week. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Past Continuous

Active voice: S + was/ were + V-ing

Passive voice: S + was/ were + being + V3

Example:

  • Sam was delivering the letters to the department. (Active)
  • The letters were being delivered to the department by Sam. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for the Past Perfect

Active voice: S + had + V3

The Passive: S + had been + V3

Example:

  • He had read the book before Nick came. (Active)
  • The book had been read before Nick came. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for the Past Perfect Continuous

Active voice: S + had + been + V-ing

Passive voice: S + had + been + being + V3

Example:

  • I had been typing the essay for 3 hours before you came yesterday. (Active)
  • The essay had been being typed for 3 hours before you came yesterday. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Future in the Past (Would)

Active voice: S + would + V1

The Passive: S + would + be + V3

Example:

  • She would type the letters. (Active)
  • The letters would be typed by her. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for the Causative Form

Active voice:

  • S + have/ has somebody + V1 + something
  • S + get(s) somebody + to + V1 + something

Passive voice:

  • S+ have/ has/ get(s) something + V3 + (by + someone).

Example:

  • My father had Tom wash his car. (Active)
  • My father had his car washed by Tom. (Passive)

Active and Passive Voice for Modal Verbs (Present)

Active voice: S + modal verb + V1

The Passive: S + modal verb+ be + V3

Example:

  • You can solve the problem. (Active)
  • The problem can be solved. (Passive)

Active vs Passive Voice for Modal Verbs (Present Perfect)

Active voice: S + modal verb + have + V3

The Passive: S + modal verb + have + been + V3

Example:

  • The snake might have killed him. (Active)
  • He might have been killed by the snake. (Passive)

Passive Voice Rules for All Tenses | Image

Passive Voice Rules for All Tenses

Passive Voice Video

Active and passive voice examples for different tenses.

Using the passive with all tenses in English.

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AIN
AIN
2 years ago

what is the meaning of ‘V1 and V3?

Engr Khuram
Engr Khuram
1 year ago
Reply to  AIN

V1 = Verb 1st form
v3= Verb 2nd form

Engr Khuram
Engr Khuram
1 year ago
Reply to  Engr Khuram

V3= Verb 3rd form

Sourav pandit
Sourav pandit
1 year ago
Reply to  AIN

V1-present from
V3-past participle from

Gg@ff.com
Gg@ff.com
10 months ago
Reply to  AIN

Columna 1 or 3 of verb. V3 is the third column

Bapan Chandra Das
Bapan Chandra Das
4 months ago
Reply to  AIN

V:Base form of verb
V3:perticiple form of verb

Conrad Hart ESL Teacher
Conrad Hart ESL Teacher
4 months ago

V3 = Past Participle. This is important to specify because the Present Participle also exists in grammar which is both a Gerund and a participle expressing present action; in English formed by adding -ing

Shivansh spehiya
Shivansh spehiya
1 month ago
Reply to  AIN

V1 mean verb ki first form and v3 means verb ki thirds form

Prince verma
Prince verma
9 months ago

Thanks for your suggestions

Ali Ahmad
Ali Ahmad
9 months ago

Wtf, Future Continues transformation

Will be being WTF
What kind of english it is? don’t make fool first learn and then post

abhishek
abhishek
9 months ago
Reply to  Ali Ahmad

this is the kind of English that someone didn’t teach you

the girl !
the girl !
4 months ago
Reply to  abhishek

yes indeed agreed

the creator not really !
the creator not really !
4 months ago
Reply to  Ali Ahmad

That kind of language should not be used i think ? right ?

Conrad Hart ESL Teacher
Conrad Hart ESL Teacher
4 months ago

No. This is not valid grammar. Neither the present perfect continuous nor the future continuous in the passive voice conjugates with the auxiliary ‘to be’ and a main verb of ‘to be’ in the present participle.

I have been being swimming. INCORRECT
I have been swimming. CORRECT

I will be being applying to a foreign university next year. INCORRECT
I will be applying to a foreign university next year. CORRECT

Abdur Rajaque
Abdur Rajaque
6 months ago

He’s been patrified.Which could be this tense belonged to?

the butterfly girl
the butterfly girl
4 months ago

didn’t help me in any way

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