passivevoice Annemonika de Agualimpia

I. The Use of Passive Voice

We use the passive voice when we don’t know who performs the action, or when it is not important to know.

The information is digitized.
(It is not important to know who digitized the information.)

Therefore we often use passive voice to describe processes.

II. The Forms of Passive Voice
Present Simple: is/are digitized
Past Simple     : was/were digitized
Future Simple : will be digitized

Rule 1
Passive voice has two components: the auxiliary verb be and the past participle of the main verb

Rule 2
The past participle never changes. The past participle of a regular verb ends in –ed; the past participle of an   irregular verb – well, you’ll have to study the list of irregular verbs.

Rule 3
The auxiliary verb ‘be’ changes according to the verb tense.
- for present simple, you use the present simple of ‘be’
- for past simple, you use the past simple of ‘be’
- for future simple, you use the future simple of ‘be’
- for present perfect you use ………………………………………….
- for present progressive, …………………………………………….

III. Sentence Structure

Example 1:
Active voice:   Somebody has opened the box.
Passive voice: The box has been opened.

Rule 1
The object in the sentence in active voice becomes the subject in the sentence in passive voice.

Example 2:
Active voice:   They have opened the box.
Passive voice:  The box has been opened.

Rule 2
If the new subject is singular, the verb has to be in singular; if the new subject is plural, the verb has to be in plural. (subject – verb agreement)

Example 3:
Active voice:   The dogs have opened the box.
Passive voice:  The box has been opened by the dogs.  (interesting, isn’t it)

Rule 3
If it is important or interesting to know who performs the action, we add this information using ‘by’

Summing Up

In a transformation exercise from active to passive, you should proceed in the following way:
- In your sentence in active voice, identify the object and write it at the beginning of the sentence in passive voice; this is your new subject.
- identify the subject and decide whether it is important or whether it can be discarded
- identify the verb and the verb tense and change to passive voice
- check on subject – verb agreement
Last updated  2008/09/28 07:26:15 PDTHits  158