In the previous lesson on the passive voice, we discussed how certain grammar patterns in active voice can be transformed into passive voice. Let’s revisit the passive voice and its usage:

When to Use Passive Voice:

  1. When the subject is unknown or unimportant:
    • Active: “They are cleaning the house.” (Subject is known)
    • Passive: “The house is being cleaned.” (Subject is unimportant)
  2. When you want to emphasize the object or the action itself:
    • Active: “The chef cooked the meal.” (Emphasizing the chef)
    • Passive: “The meal was cooked.” (Emphasizing the meal)
  3. In formal or polite expressions:
    • Active: “You should finish your work.” (Direct command)
    • Passive: “Your work should be finished.” (Polite suggestion)

Here’s a chart showing the transformation of active voice into passive voice using the “to be” verb + past participle (V3) for various tenses:

TenseActive VoicePassive Voice
Present SimpleI paint houses.Houses are painted.
Present ContinuousI am painting the house.The house is being painted.
Past TenseI painted the house.The house was painted.
Past ContinuousI was painting the house.The house was being painted.
Future SimpleI will paint the house.The house will be painted.
Present PerfectI have painted the house.The house has been painted.
Future PerfectI will have painted the house.The house will have been painted.
Past PerfectI had painted the house.The house had been painted.
ShouldYou should paint the house.The house should be painted.
-ingI like someone painting the houses.I like the houses being painted.
Perfect -ingHaving painted the house, …The house, having been painted…

Here are some additional examples:

  • Active: “The mechanic is repairing the car.”
    • Passive: “The car is being repaired at the moment.”
  • Passive: “My car was sold last week.”
    • Active: “Someone sold my car last week.”
  • Passive: “The book has not been completed yet.”
    • Active: “He hasn’t completed the book yet.”


  • When the subject is unimportant or unknown, you don’t need to use “by” followed by the agent (the doer of the action). For example, “The house will be painted” is sufficient without specifying “by him.”
  • In cases where it’s important to mention who performed the action, you can use “by,” as in “He was taken to the hospital by his dad.”
  • For verbs like “hear,” “see,” and “make,” when transforming into passive voice, use “to” before the infinitive form of the verb, e.g., “He was seen to make the bed.”

Remember that passive voice is used to shift the focus from the doer of the action (the subject) to the action itself or the receiver of the action (the object).

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