Passive Voice

We use passive voice instead of active voice in the following situations:

When the action is more important than the doer.


The text was written by Joshua.

When the doer of the action is unimportant or unknown.


The window was broken las night.

The robber was arrested this morning.

When we do not want to mention the doer of the action.


The second desk in the classroom is scratched.

In formal style.


I can be contacted every weekday from 9 am to 2 pm.

We form the passive voice in the following way:

Martin sends e-mails every day. (active voice)

E-mails are sent (by Martin) every day. (passive voice)

The object from the active voice sentence becomes the subject of the passive voice sentence. The verb in passive voice consists of : the verb to be in the corresponding verb tense and the past participle of the verb in the active voice sentence. if we want to introduce the doer of the action we use the preposition by.

Here are examples of passive voice sentences:

tense active voice passive voice
Present simple He washes the car every week. The car is washed every week.
Present Continuous He is washing the car now. The car is being washed now.
Present Perfect He has just washed the car. The car has just been washed.
Past Simple He washed the car yesterday. The car was washed yesterday.
Past continuous He was washing the car at 6:00 yesterday. The car was being washed at 6:00 yesterday.
Past Perfect He had washed the car before he left for work. The car had been washed before he left for work.
Future simple He will wash the car tomorrow. The car will be washed tomorrow.
Future Perfect He will have washed the car by 3:00 tomorrow. The car will have been washed by 3:00 tomorrow.
Future with going to He is going to wash the car later today. The car is going to be washed later today.
Modals He should wash the car. The car should be washed.
Present infinitive He needs to wash the car. The car needs to be washed.
Perfect infinitive He must have washed the car by now. The car must have been washed by now.
-ing form He insisted on washing the car. He insisted on the car being washed.
Let He lets his son wash the car. His son is allowed to wash the car.
Make He makes his son wash the car. His son is made to wash the car.

We cannot form passive voice if:

  • The verb in the active voice sentence is in: Past Perfect Continuous, Present Perfect Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous or Future Continuous.
  • The active voice sentence does not have an object.
  • If the active voice sentence contains some of the following verbs: be, have, resemble, lack etc.

Note that if the active voice sentence has two objects, then we can form two passive voice sentences.


Anthony gave me a present.

I was given a present.

A present was given to me.

  With or By

We use by to introduce the person/thing that does the action.


This book was written by a famous author.

We use with to introduce the material, ingredient or instrument with the help of which the action was performed.


The pizza was made with mushrooms and cheese.

You can try the quiz here