What is Passive Voice?Passive Voice is a structure we use in English where the subject becomes the object.In the active voice, the subject does the action.Alice wears a red dress.
The cat eats the mouse. Who does the action in this sentence? Who eats the mouse? The catIt performs the action. We see the action in the cat’s point of view.
Now, Passive Voice expresses an action done to a subject. That means the subject receives the action. The object becomes the subject of the passive sentence.The mouse is eaten by the cat.In this sentence the mouse is the subject.We see the action in the mouse’s point of view.
When do we use Passive Voice? We use Passive Voice when; we want to place emphasis on the object or objects, we do not know who is performing the action, or it is not apparent who is performing the action, we express a general idea.To talk about the actions or events when we want to emphasize what happened, or who it happened to, rather than who or what caused the action.
Why do we use Passive Voice? We vary our speech in English. It is usually used to say what has happened when talking about events. It is often used on the news, in newspapers, manuals and recipes. It gives a different style and variation to language. At times it just sounds better.
How do we form Passive Voice?‘to be’ + the past participle.We form Passive Voice by putting the verb “to be” into the same tense as the active verb and adding the past participle of the active verb.Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. Hamlet was written by Shakespeare.Bugsy stole the money early this morning. The money was stolen early this morning.
Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. Hamlet was written by Shakespeare.Edison invented the light bulb. The light bulb was invented by Edison.~~~~~~~~~o~~~~~~~~~~We can omit ‘by’ if we don’t know who is performing the action, or it’s not apparent.They killed the president. The president was killed.They’ve reduced the prices of many things in the shops. The prices of many things have been reduced in the shops.
We sometimes make passive sentences with ‘get’ instead of ‘be’The money was stolen The money got stolen Mom, We were playing football and the window got broken.
We generally use the passive because the agent is not important or not known.The house was built in 1925. (Agent unknown / unimportant)English is spoken in Canada. (Specific agent unknown / unimportant)
However, we can include the agent after the verb in a passive sentence, using the preposition ‘BY’My lunch was stolen by a gorilla from the circus!The new hospital is going to be opened by the Queen herself.