There are two types of passive voice sentences:1.- Passive voice with agent.2.- Passive voice without agent.
1. Passive voice with agent: These sentences are the transformation of active sentences like this one: “Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa” where “Leonardo” is the subject. “painted” is the verb phrase. And “the Mona Lisa” is the direct object.
The passive voice is a change in the focus of the informationIn active voice we give more importance to the subject. In our sentence, Da Vinci gets the focus. painted
However, with the passive voice we intendthe opposite effect. We focus on the object. was painted
How do we transform an active sentence into a passive sentence? We must follow three steps…
Step 1 The direct object of the active sentence becomes the subject (patient subject) of the passive sentence: Active “Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa” Passive “The Mona Lisa…” is the patient subject.
Step 2 The verb changes like this:We put the verb “to be” in the tense of the active voice sentence, followed by the original verb in the past participle form. “Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa”The verb is “paint” in past simple, so in the passive voice we will have: “The Mona Lisa was painted …”
Step 3 The active subject (Leonardo), becomes the Agent, always introduced by the preposition “by”. This way: “Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa” becomes “The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo”
2. Passive voice without agent. The transformations are the same, but the agent does not appear in the passive voicesentence, because it is not important or it is not known. For example: In El Prado Museum a worker has found another version of the Mona Lisa. That worker is an anonymous person, so.
We use a passive without agent. has been found“A different version of the Mona Lisa has been found in El Prado Museum.”
Passive voice sentences without agent usually come from active sentences with subjects like:Somebody, someone, they, people, e tc… Subjects that do not give much important information.
Examples of passive voice without agent are: 1.- People admire good singers. Passive: “Good singers are admired.” 2.- Somebody has broken the window.Passive: “The window has been broken.” 3.- They are building a new town hall.Passive: “A new town hall is being built.”
4.- Nobody has photographed the baby. Passive: “The baby hasn’t been photographed .” 5.- Someone stole the new car yesterday. Passive voice: “The new car was stolen yesterday.”
Other examples of passive with agent: 1.-“The policemen caught the thief.” Passive: “The thief was caught by the policemen.” 2.- “The lions were eating a zebra.” Passive: “A zebra was being eaten by the lions.” 3.-”The Japanese have invented a new computer.”Passive: “A new computer has been invented by the Japanese.”
4.- “Spain won the World Cup in 2010.”Passive: “The World Cup was won by Spain in 2010.” 5.- “Mary is making the coffee.”Passive: “The coffee is being made by Mary.”
TENSE FORMPresent Simple Am, is, arePresent continuous Am / is / are beingPast Simple Was, werePast Continuous Was being, were beingPresent Perfect Has been, have beenFuture (will) Will beConditional (would) Would beGoint to Am/ are / is going to beModals Can be, must be, etc…
Negative and Questions The first element in the verb phrase is called the operator. For example: “The car was being stolen.” This is the operatorThe operator is in charge of questions and answers.
“People spend a lot of money on stupid things.” AFFIRMATIVE“A lot of money is spent on stupid things” INTERROGATIVE“Is a lot of money spent on stupid things? NEGATIVE “A lot of money isn’t spent on stupid things.”