Passive Voice


What is the passive voice?

  • The passive voice puts emphasis on the object instead of the subject.

    • Active voice: Bob threw the ball.

    • Passive voice: The ball was thrown by Bob.

How do we use the passive voice?

  • We can construct a passive voice sentence by using the following structure

    • object + to be + past participle

    • The Harry Potter books were written by J.K. Rowling.

    • The announcement was made yesterday.

    • English is taught all over the world.

  • We use the passive voice….

    • When the subject is unknown or unimportant

    • The cave paintings were painted thousands of years ago.

      • (We don’t know who painted them.)

    • The museum was built last year.

      • (We don’t care who built it.)

    • When we’re talking about a universal truth

    • Peanut butter and jelly were made to be together.

      • (Peanut butter and jelly are delicious together, no matter who does it)

One more thing…

  • The passive voice can be used in the past, present, or future



Simple Present

They drink coffee.

Simple Present

The coffee is drunk by them.

Simple Past

They drank coffee.

Simple Past

The coffee was drunk by them.


Present Continuous

They are drinking coffee.

Present Continuous
The coffee is being drunk by them.

Past Continuous

They were drinking coffee.

Past Continuous

The coffee was being drunk by them.

Future Simple
They will drink coffee.

Future Simple

The coffee will be drunk by them.


I. Fill in the blanks with the passive or active voice

  • Daniel ____________________ the test yesterday (pass).

  • Everyone _____________________ when they heard the news (disappoint).

  • When I arrived, dinner ______________________ already (make).

  • That movie will _________________ next year (release).

II. Write your answer using the passive voice

  • Who is your favorite book written by?

  • When was your house built?

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