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Passive Voice Rules for All Tenses

Passive Voice Rules for All Tenses


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Active and Passive Structure for All Tenses

How do we form the passive in all tenses? Which be verb should we use in which tense? In this lesson, we have explained the rules for changing the tenses into passive voice, including their structure in active voice. 

Passive Voice for Present Simple Tense

Present Simple Tense (is, am, are) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + (Verb)1 + Object Object + is/am/are + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Negative Subject + do/does + not + (Verb)1 + Object Object + is/am/are + not + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Interrogative Do/does + Subject + (Verb)1 + Object Is/am/are + Object + (Verb)3 + by + Subject

Examples
  • Active Voice: The professor asks her many questions.
  •                          She is asked many questions by the  professor.
  • Active Voice:  The professor does not ask her many questions.
  •                           She is not asked many questions by the professor.
  • Active Voice: Does the professor ask her many questions?
  •                          Is she asked many questions by the professor?
  • Active Voice: Which companies provide insurance services?
  •                           Insurance services are provided by which companies?
  • Active Voice: Why do the students hate the French language?
  •                           Why does the French language is hated by the students?
Remember: If the subject in present simple tense is I, You, We, They, or any other plural noun or pronoun, the auxiliary verb “am” is used with “I” and “are” is used with You, We, and They. The auxiliary “is” is used with the third person singular He, She, and It.

Similarly, “do” is used in negative and interrogative sentences with “I” and plural subject, and “does” is used when the subject is third-person singular, i.e., He, She, It, or any other singular subject.

A pronoun in the subjective case changed into the objective case in the passive voice.

Passive Voice for Past Simple Tense

Past Simple Tense (was, were) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + (Verb)2 + Object Object + was/were + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Negative Subject + did + not + (Verb)1 + Object Object + was/were + not + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Interrogative Did + Subject + (Verb)1 + Object Was/were + Object + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Examples
  • Active: She taught us.
  •              We were taught by her.
  • Active:  She did not teach us.
  •                 We were not taught by her.                                                                               
  • Active:  Did she teach us?
  •                Were we taught by her?

Note: Past simple tense is formed with the second form of a verb. Negative and interrogative sentences do not use the first form of a verb. This is because the auxiliary “did” is the past form of “do.” 

Passive Voice for Future Simple Tense

Future Simple Tense(be) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + will/shall + (Verb)1 + Object Object + will/shall + be + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Negative Subject + will/shall + not + (Verb)1 + Object Object + will/shall + be + not + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Interrogative Will/shall + Subject + (Verb)1 + Object Will/shall + Object + be + (Verb)3 + by + Subject

Examples
  • Active: She will send me money.
  •               I will be sent money by her.
  • Active: She will not sell milk.
  •               Milk will not be sold by her.
  • Active: Will she sell milk?
  •               Will milk be sold by her?

Passive Voice for Present Continuous Tense 

Present Continuous Tense (is, am, are + being) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + is/am/are + (Verb1 + ing) + Object Object + is/am/are + being + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Negative Subject + is/am/are + not + (Verb1 + ing) + Object Object + is/am/are + not + being + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Interrogative Is/am/are + Subject + (Verb1 + ing) + Object Is/am/are + Object + being + (Verb)3 + by + Subject

Examples
  • Active:  He is waiting for us.
  •                We are being waited by him.
  • Active:  He is not waiting for us.
  •                We are not being waited by him.                                           
  • Active:  Is he waiting for us?
  •               Are we being waited by him?
  • Active: Why is he talking to you like this?
  •               Why are you being talked by him like this?
  • Active: When is the president delivering the speech?
  •               When is the speech being delivered by the president?

Passive Voice for Past Continuous Tense

Past Continuous Tense (Was, were + being) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + was/were + (Verb1 + ing) + Object Object + was/were + being + (Verb)3 + Subject
Negative Subject + was/were + not + (Verb1 +ing) + Object Object + was/were + not + being + (Verb)3
Interrogative Was/were + Subject + (Verb1 + ing) + Object Was/were + being + (Verb)3 + Object

Examples
  • Active Voice: He was watching a movie at 8 pm yesterday.
  •                          A movie was being watched by him at 8 pm yesterday.
  • Active Voice: He was not watching a movie at 8 pm yesterday.
  •                          A movie was not being watched by him at 8 pm yesterday.
  • Active Voice: Was he watching a movie at 8 pm yesterday? 
  •                           Was a movie being watched by him at 8 pm yesterday?

Passive Voice for Future Continuous Tense

Future Continuous Tense(was, were, being) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + was/were + (Verb1 + ing) + Object Object + was/were + being + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Negative Subject + was/were + not + (Verb + ing) + Object Object + was/were + not + being + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Interrogative Was/were + Subject + (Verb + ing) + Object Was/were + Object + being + (Verb)3 + by + Subject

Examples
  • Active: He will be catching the fish.
  •               The fish will be being caught by him.
  • Active: He will not be catching the fish.
  •               The fish will not be being caught by him.
  • Active:  Will he be catching the fish?
  •                Will the fish be being caught by him?

Passive Voice for Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Tense(have been, has been) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + have/has + (Verb)3 + Object Object + have/has + been + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Negative Subject + have/has + not + (Verb)3 + Object Object + has/have + not + been + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Interrogative Has/have + Subject + (Verb)3 + Object Have/has + Object + been + (Verb)3 + by + Subject

Remember: The auxiliary “has” is singular, and it is used with a singular subject he, she and it, etc. And “have” is plural and is used with the pronoun “I” and plural subject, i.e., you, we, and they, or any other plural noun or pronoun used as a subject in a sentence.

Examples
  • Active:  They have bought this house.
  • This house has been bought by them.
  • Active: They have not bought this house.
  • This house has not been bought by them.
  • Active: Have they bought this house?
  • Has this house been bought by them?
  • Active: Why has the girl sold the house?
  • Why has the house been sold by the girl?

Passive Voice for Past Perfect Tense

Past Perfect Tense(had been) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + had + (Verb)3 + Object Object + had + been + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Negative Subject + had + not + (Verb)3 + Object Object + had + not + been + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Interrogative Had + Subject + (Verb)3 + Object Had + Object + been + (Verb)3 + by + Subject
Examples
  • Active:  Somebody had broken into the flat.
  •                The flat had been broken into.
  • Active: Somebody had not broken into the flat.
  •               The flat had not been broken into.
  • Active: Had somebody broken into the flat?
  •               Had the flat been broken into?

Passive Voice for Future Perfect Tense

Future Perfect Tense(will have been) Structure (Active Voice) Structure (Passive Voice)
Positive Subject + will/shall + have + (Verb)3 + Object Object + will/shall + have + been + (Verb)3 + Subject
Negative Subject + will/shall + not + have + (Verb)3 + Object Object + will/shall + not + have + been + (Verb)3 + Subject
Interrogative Subject + will/shall + not + have + (Verb)3 + Object Will/shall + Object + have + been + (Verb)3 + Subject

Examples
  • Active: We will have bought the apples.
  •               The apples will have been bought by us.
  • Active:  We will not have bought the apples.
  •                The apples will not have been bought by us.
  • Active:  Will we have bought the apples?
  •                Will the apples have been bought by us?
Note: Perfect continuous tenses (Present, Past, and Future) do not admit passive expression.


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