In traditional grammar, a type of sentence or clause in which the subject receives the action of the verb. Example: “A good time was had by all.” Contrast with active voice.

The most common form of the passive in English is the short passive or agentless passive: a construction in which the agent (that is, the performer of an action) is not identified. Example: “Mistakes were made.” (In a long passive, the object of the verb in an active sentence becomes the subject.) See the discussion of the passive gradient in Examples and Observations below.

Often the passive voice is formed by using the appropriate form of the verb to be (for example, is) and a past participle (for example, formed). However, passive constructions aren’t always made up of be and a past participle. For example, see the discussion of the “get”-passive.

Though many style guides discourage use of the passive, the construction can be quite useful, especially when the performer of an action is unknown or unimportant. Passive constructions can also enhance cohesion.

The passive forms are made up of the verb be with a past participle:

  be past participle  
English is spoken all over the world
The windows have been cleaned
Lunch was being served
The work will be finished soon
They might have been invited to the party

We sometimes use the verb get to form the passive:

Be careful with the glass. It might get broken.

Peter got hurt in a crash.

If we want to show the person or thing doing the action we use by:

She was attacked by a dangerous dog.

The money was stolen by her husband.

We can use the indirect object as the subject of a passive verb:

active   passive
I gave him a book for his birthday >> He was given a book for his birthday.
Someone sent her a cheque for a thousand euros >> She was sent a cheque for a thousand euros.

We can use phrasal verbs in the passive:

active   passive
They called off the meeting. >> The meeting was called off.
His grandmother looked after him. >> He was looked after by his grandmother.
They will send him away to school. >> He will be sent away to school.

Some verbs very frequently used in the passive are followed by the to-infinitive:

be supposed to be expected to be asked to
be scheduled to be allowed to be told to


  1. Somebody will clean the room later – The room will be cleaned
  2. Somebody is using the computer – The computer is being used.
  3. Someone is eating mangos – Mangos is being eat.
  4. John punch rudi in the face – Rudi is punched in the face.
  5. Jono ride a bike every day on daily basis – A bike is ridden every day on daily basis by Jono.
  6. Susan made a juice of dragon fruit for me – A juice of dragon fruit was made for me.
  7. I think someone is following us – I think we’re being followed.
  8. They have postponed the concert – The concert have been postponed.
  9. Somebody dellayed the flight – The flight was dellayed.
  10. New money is washable – It can be washed.


  1. This house was built in 1930 – Some body built this house in 1930
  2. Many accidents are caused by dangerous driving – Dangerous driving cause many accidents.
  3. A Cinema is a place where films is shown – A place where film show is a Cinema.
  4. You were invited to the wedding – Somebody invited you to the wedding.
  5. This room is cleaned every day – Somebody cleans this room every day.
  6. How much money was stolen? – How much somebody stole the money?
  7. Were you invited to the party by Sapardi ? Did Sapardi invite you to the party?
  8. No, I wasn’t invited – No, Sapardi didn’t invite
  9. How is the word “howl” pronounced? – How you pronounce the word “howl”?
  10. When was the telephone invited? – When someone invited the telephone?



Josephine Quah. 1993. Grammar practice with answers. Jakarta: Binarupa Aksara Kang Guru. December 2001. English Magazine.

T.H. M. Sudarwati and Grace Eudia. 2006. Look Ahead an English Course for senior high schools students year XII. Jakarta: Erlangga.

Raymond Murphy. 1984. English in Use. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. accessed on 06 May 2015.


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