1. What is the passive voice?

Passive voice is a sentence used when you want to emphasize something that is affected by the action rather than the action itself. The tense of the verb in the passive sentence must exactly follow the tense of the verb in the active sentence.

Active voice: I deliver the letters in the morning ➡ Passive voice: The letters are delivered in the morning.
Active voice: I empty the rubbish bins once a week ➡ Passive voice: The rubbish bins are emptied once a week.

2. Passive sentence structure

Core structure of the passive voice:

S + be + V3/Ved + (by + O) + (…)

  • S ➡ the subject in the sentence, the object (person/thing, ...) is affected by a certain action.
  • be + V3/ Ved ➡ The word "be" can change depending on the tense used in the active sentence.
  • V3/ Ved ➡ the verb is always kept the same, the thing that changes with the tense in this structure is the verb "be" above.
  • (by + O) ➡ "by" in English means "by", this word is used to introduce/refer to the object performing the action in the sentence after "by".
  • “O” ➡ indicates the object performing the action in the sentence.
  • + (…) ➡ information about the place/time at which the S in the sentence will be affected by the action. This part is optional, it may or may not be available on a case-by-case basis.

3. How to use the passive voice

There are two ways to use the passive voice in English. specifically the following:

  • When you want to emphasize the person/thing affected by the action. Example: A lot of money was stolen in the robbery.
  • When you don't know who/what performs the action or something is not important (unknown/ unimportant)

Note: if you want to refer to the subject performing the action, add "by + sb/sth (by whom/what). Example: A lot of money was stolen by two men in the robbery

4. How to change active sentence to passive sentence

Steps to change active sentences into passive sentences in English:

Step 1: Identify the object in the active sentence ➡ change the object into the subject of the passive sentence.
Step 2: Determine the tense used in the active sentence ➡ move the word of that sentence into the passive voice
Step 3: Turn the subject in the active sentence into the object in the passive sentence, adding "by" in front. Note, for unknown subjects in the sentence, you can omit them, for example: by them, by people, etc.

You can immediately save the formula table for converting passive sentences from active sentences of tenses in English:

Tense Active Passive voice
Simple present  S + V(s/es) + O S + am/is/are + P2
Present continous S + am/is/are + V-ing + O S + am/is/are + being + P2
Present perfect S + have/has + P2 + O S + have/has + been + P2
Present perfect continuous                S + have/has + been + V-ing + O               S + have/ has been being + P2
Simple past S + V(ed/Ps) + O S + was/were + P2
Past continuous S + was/were + V-ing + O S + was/were + being + P2
Past Perfect S + had + P2 + O S + had + been + P2
Past Perfect continous S + hadn’t + been + V-ing + O S + had been being + P2
Future simple S + will + V-infi + O S + will + be + P2
Future perfect S + will + have + P2 + O S + will + have + been + P2
Near future S + am/is/are going to + V-infi + O S + am/is/are going to + be + P2
Future perfect continuous S + will + have + been + V-ing + O S + will have been being + P2
Modal verb S + modal verb + V-infi + O S + modal verb+ be + P2


Some notes when changing passive sentences in English:

  • Intransitive English - verbs that do not require an object will not be used in passive sentences Example: His mother's leg hurts.
  • When the subject in a certain sentence is responsible for the main action, it does not change into a passive sentence. Example: Canada takes charge.
  • In some cases, the phrase "to be/to get + P2" does not have a passive meaning in English, but means: referring to the state or situation that the subject in the sentence is facing/referring to the subject. do something yourself.
  • Always remember, all tense and form changes in the passive sentence are aimed at the verb to be, and the part 2 will be left unchanged.

5. Exercise 

Exercise 1. Choose the correct answer:

1. By the time the package _____, we will have left for the airport.

a) is delivered b) will be delivered c) will have been delivered d) had been delivered


2. The concert _____, and the tickets are already sold out.

a) will be held b) is being held c) has been held d) had been held


3. The building _____ by the architect who designed the Eiffel Tower.

a) was designed b) designed c) has been designed d) had been designed


4. The report _____ to the manager yesterday.

a) was submitted b) submitted c) has been submitted d) had been submitted


5. The show _____ every week on television.

a) is broadcasted b) broadcasts c) has been broadcasted d) had been broadcasted


6. The new rules _____ last month.

a) were implemented b) implemented c) has been implemented d) had been implemented


7. The contract _____ before the end of the month.

a) will be signed b) is being signed c) has been signed d) had been signed


8. The message _____ by the time we got home.

a) was left b) left c) has been left d) had been left


9. The equipment _____ before we could finish the project.

a) had broken down b) broke down c) has broken down d) was breaking down


10. The play _____ in many languages since its premiere.

a) has been translated b) was translated c) will be translated d) had been translated


Exercise 2. Fill the blank with suitable words:

The World Cup is the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world. It _____________ every four years and attracts millions of fans from around the globe. The event _____________ by FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, and requires extensive planning and preparation. The tournament _____________ by a different country each time, with the host nation responsible for organizing and funding the event.

During the tournament, matches _____________ in various cities across the host country, with the final match being the most highly anticipated event. The World Cup has a rich history, with many legendary players and unforgettable moments. It _____________ as a platform for countries to showcase their soccer talent and national pride. The passion and excitement generated by the tournament _____________ every time it takes place.



Exercise 1:

  1. c) will have been delivered
  2. b) is being held
  3. a) was designed
  4. a) was submitted
  5. b) broadcasts
  6. a) were implemented
  7. a) will be signed
  8. a) was left
  9. b) broke down
  10. a) has been translated

Exercise 2:

  • is held
  • is organized
  • is hosted
  • are held
  • serves
  • is generated