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Passive Voice

Passive Voice

Formation: „to be“ + past participle (3rd form)

When should you use the passive voice?

Passive voice is generally used (see what I did there?) when the person or thing which is doing the action (the subject) is not important, or less important than the action or object itself. It is also useful when the subject is unknown, or to add further information. Changing an active sentence to a passive one means that the subject turns into the object, and the object turns into the subject. 

Passive voice is more commonly used in formal writing such as reports and scientific dissertations, and less common in novels, stories or other informal texts. 

Not sure if you are reading an active or a passive sentence? If you can add “by somebody” to the end of the sentence (or if it already ends like that), then you are looking at a passive sentence.


Charlie baked the cake this morning. (active) → The cake was baked this morning (by Charlie). (passive)

The dishes are washed up every day.

The rubbish has been taken out. I wonder who did it? (→ unknown subject)

My dog has to be vaccinated.

My grandma gave me this jumper for my birthday. (active) It was knitted by hand. (passive → further information)

And that’s all for today!

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