The passive voice

The passive voice in the English language

to the present

The passive voice is required when the subject of a sentence becomes the object and vice versa. In this case the verb is put into the past participle and the new subject (former object) is related to by the auxiliary "be".

active voice: We drink Coke.
passive voice: Coke is drunk.

In principle this is similiar to many other languages, the only intricacy the usage of the verb "be" in its funtion as auxiliary.

active voice : We play football.
passive voice : We play football.

to the presentobject becomes subjectauxiliary: am/is/arepast participle
passive:Lemonade isdrunk.passive
passive:Steaks areeatenpassive

Past (simple past)

In the past you just put the auxiliary into its simple past tense form.

Aktivsatz: We drank lemonade.
Passivsatz: Lemonade was drunk.
past:object becomes subjectHilfsverb: was/werePartizip Perfekt (II. Form)
passive:Lemonade wasdrunk.passive


In the future tense of the passive voice the auxiliary "be" in its future form "will" is supplemented by another "be" followed by the past participle:

Aktivsatz: We will drink lemonade.
Passivsatz: Lemonade will be drunk.

active:Peoplewill(can,may, might)
future or other modal auxiliary:object becomes subjectauxiliary: will/can/may/mightbe+ past participle
passive:Lemonadewill/can/may/mightbe drunk.passive
passive:Steakswill/can/may/mightbe eaten.passive

Progressive form

In the progressive form the passive voice is completed by the participle present be = being

simple form: Lemonade is drunk.
progressive form: Lemonade is being drunk.

active:questionsare eating
progressive form:Subjekt wird ObjektHilfsverb be+beingPartizip Perfekt (II. Form)
passive:Lemonadeis beingdrunkpassive
passive: Steaksare beingeatenpassive

present perfect

In the present perfect form the active voice is completed by "been".

active voice: I said words.
passive voice: Words have been said.

active:questionshave eaten
present perfect:Subjekt wird Objekt:Hilfsverb has/have beenPartizip (II. Form)
passive:Lemonadehas beendrunk. passive
passive:Steakshave beeneaten.passive

by – agent

In the English passive voice the object of the active voice is circumscribed by the so-called by agent by.

active voice: Stephen King wrote this book.
passive voice: This book was written by Stephen King.

exercise passive voice: