Passive Voice Rules for All Tenses | Examples of Active & Passive Voice

The passive voice is formed with the appropriate tense of the verb to be + past participle. In this lesson, you will Learn how and when to use it with examples.

When to Use the Passive Voice?

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.

Passive Constructions and Examples of Active and Passive Voice

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)

Present Continuous Tense

Active voice:

S + am/is/are + V-ing

Passive voice:

S + am/ is/ are + being + V3

Example:

They are planting some trees. (Active)

Some trees are being planted. (Passive)

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)

Present Perfect Continuous

Active Voice:

S + have/ has + been + V-ing

Passive voice:

S + have/ has + been + being + V3

Example:

Lisa has not been practicing English. (Active)

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

Future with WILL

Active voice:

S + will/ shall + V1

Passive voice:

S + will be + V3

Example:

My parents will take us to the park. (Active)

We will be taken to the park by our parents. (Passive)

Future with BE GOING TO

Active voice:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + V1

Passive voice:

S + am/ is/ are going to be + V3

Example:

Sally is going to make a beautiful dinner tonight. (Active)

A beautiful dinner is going to be made by Sally tonight. (Passive)

Future Continuous with WILL

Active Voice:

S + will/ shall + be + V-ing

Passive voice:

S + will/ shall + be + being + V3

Example:

At 8:00 pm tonight, John will be washing the dishes. (Active)

At 8:00 pm tonight, the dishes will be being washed by John. (Passive)

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)

Future Perfect with WILL

Active voice:

S + will + have + V3

Passive voice:

S + will have been + V3

Example:

They will have completed the project before the deadline. (Active)

The project will have been completed before the deadline. (Passive)

Future Perfect with BE GOING TO

Active voice:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + V3

Passive voice:

S + am/ is/ are + going to + have + been + V3

Example:

They are going to have completed the project before the deadline. (Active)

The project is going to have been completed before the deadline. (Passive)

Future Perfect Continuous with WILL

Active voice:

S + will + have + been + V-ing

Passive voice:

S + will + have + been + being + V3

Example:

He will have been eating the apples. (Active)

The apples will have been being eaten by him. (Passive)

Future Perfect Continuous with BE GOING TO

Active voice:

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

Passive voice:

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

Example:

The famous artist is going to have been painting the mural for over six months by the time it is finished. (Active)

The mural is going to have been being painted by the famous artist for over six months by the time it is finished. (Passive)

Past Simple

Active voice:

S + V2

Passive voice:

S + was/ were + V3

Example:

They restored the building. (Active)

The building was restored by them. (Passive)

Past Continuous

Active voice:

S + was/ were + V-ing

Passive voice:

S + was/ were + being + V3

Example:

Rita was writing a letter. (Active)

A letter was being written by Rita. (Passive)

Past Perfect

Active voice:

S + had + V3

Passive voice:

S + had been + V3

Example:

He had delivered the letters. (Active)

The letters had been delivered. (Passive)

Past Perfect Continuous

Active voice:

S + had + been + V-ing

Passive voice:

S + had + been + being + V3

Example:

Chef Jones had been preparing the restaurant’s fantastic dinners for two years before he moved to Paris. (Active)

The restaurant’s fantastic dinners had been being prepared by Chef Jones for two years before he moved to Paris. (Passive)

Future in the Past (would)

Active voice:

S + would + V1

Passive voice:

S + would + be + V3

Example:

She would type the letters. (Active)

The letters would be typed by her. (Passive)

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)

Modal Verbs (present)

Active voice:

S + modal verb + V1

Passive voice:

S + modal verb+ be + V3

Example:

You can solve the problem. (Active)

The problem can be solved. (Passive)

Modal Verbs (present perfect)

Active voice:

S + modal verb + have + V3

Passive voice:

S + modal verb + have + been + V3

Example:

The snake might have killed him. (Active)

He might have been killed by the snake. (Passive)

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