Transitive verbs have both active and passive forms:

active   passive
The hunter killed the lion. >> The lion was killed by the hunter.
Someone has cleaned the windows >> The windows have been cleaned


The passive forms are made up of the verb be with a past participle:

  be past participle  
English is spoken all over the world
The windows have been cleaned  
Lunch was being served  
The work will be finished soon
They might have been invited to the party


We sometimes use the verb get to form the passive:

Be careful with the glass. It might get broken.
Peter got hurt in a crash.

If we want to show the person or thing doing the action we use by:

She was attacked by a dangerous dog.
The money was stolen by her husband.

We can use the indirect object as the subject of a passive verb:

 

active   passive
I gave him a book for his birthday >> He was given a book for his birthday.
Someone sent her a cheque for a thousand euros >> She was sent a cheque for a thousand euros.


We can use phrasal verbs in the passive:

 

active   passive
They called off the meeting. >> The meeting was called off.
His grandmother looked after him. >> He was looked after by his grandmother.
They will send him away to school. >> He will be sent away to school.

Some verbs very frequently used in the passive are followed by the to-infinitive:

 

be supposed to be expected to be asked to
be scheduled to be allowed to be told to

John has been asked to make a speech at the meeting.
You are supposed to wear a uniform.
The meeting is scheduled to start at seven. 

 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello Sir,
Would you please help me change the following sentence into the passive voice?
They have had to destroy some buildings.

Hello Hisham al Lubbad,

The passive form of this sentence would be as follows:

Some buildings have had to be destroyed.

 

Please note that generally we don't provide answers to specific questions like this as we don't want to end up doing people's homework or tests for them.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much, Sir.
In fact I am a teacher of English language and I have been teaching the passive for a long time.
However, one of my students asked me about the difference between "They had to destroy some buildings" and " They have had to destroy some buildings" in the passive voice and my answer was as follows:
Active voice: They had to destroy some buildings.
Passive voice: Some buildings had to be destroyed.

Active voice: They have had to destroy some buildings.
Passive voice: Some buildings have had to be destroyed.

I just wanted to make sure I was right by asking experts.
Thank you again Mr. Perer
Bye

Hello Hisham al Lubbad,

Both of those transformations are correct so the information you have been giving to your students is correct.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir.

The house is being painted and Somebody is painting the house. Does both the sentence means the same because we use continuous tenses for an ongoing action at the moment so the sentence in passive voice uses the past participle form so does it also mean action is ongoing.

Hello aseel aftab,

Yes, they essentially mean the same thing. The continuous aspect is also used in both. The continuous aspect can mean different things depending on context, but yes, one of the common meanings is to refer to something ongoing at the moment of speaking.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir , the other day I came across 2 sentences. In one a blank was supposed to be filled with the passive form of a verb. The sentence was :
Lifeguards ......... (train) to save people from drowning.
My knowledge says the answer should be 'are trained' . Sir can we also write 'has been trained' as that is also a passive form?
The second sentence simply tells to change the voice.
2. Were you taught to read by your father?
Can we have two answers to this?
*Did your father teach you to read?
*Your father taught you to read?
The second answer seems strange...
please shed some light. Thank you.

Hello amrita,

I'm afraid we can't help you with questions that come from other sources. We are simply too small a team with too much other work to be able to offer this kind of service.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir
I'm sorry if I've offended the LearnEnglish Team in any way as I have been blocked from posting any queries on the page of sentences. I just wanted to speak and write impeccably. Thank you sir for all your explanations tilll date , they have indeed helped me a lot. Sorry again.

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