Passive Voice in English

A lesson on using passive voice 

by | Aug 2, 2019 | Grammar, Speaking, Writing

The car looks absolutely spotless. Do you have any idea who washes it regularly? Since the result is at hand but the subject (or doer) is not present, it is the perfect chance to use the passive voice and bring variety to your language.

In the IELTS Exam, variety in your grammar has a direct impact on your speaking and writing scores, so let’s master the use of passive sentences in our language. We use the passive voice for two main reasons:

  1. When the subject who does the action is unknown:
    • e.g. My car was stolen sometime between 12 am and 6 am.
  2. When the action is more important than the subject.
    • e.g. More than 200 kinds of dishes are served in this restaurant.

Here’s the formula for passive structures:

Here’s the table for Verb Tenses in English in passive form:

English Tenses

Examples

Present Simple

The car is washed every weekend.

Past Simple

The car was washed yesterday.

Future Simple

The car will be washed later.

Present Continuous

The car is being washed now.

Past Continuous

Th car was being washed when Jill asked.

Future Continuous

unusual

Present Perfect Simple

The car has been washed already.

Past Perfect Simple

The car had been washed before Jill arrived.

Future Perfect Simple

The car will have been washed by the time Jill comes.

Present Perfect Continuous

unusual

Past Perfect Continuous

unusual

Future Perfect Continuous

unusual

Impossible Passive forms

Passive forms are impossible with intransitive verbs.

  • An accident was happened yesterday at the junction.
  • An accident happened yesterday at the junction.
About the Author

About the Author

CEO and Co-founder of Juice Academy

Mehdi Safavi is a Cambridge certified English teacher (CELTA Grade A), IDP-trained IELTS expert, Sussex Downs College TESOL with 17+ years of teaching & teacher training experience. More about him →

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