• Grammar - Level 3
  • Lesson 09: Passive Voice – Present Tense Passive Voice – Past Tense | Passive Voice – Fut

Passive Voice – Present Tense

The structure for the passive voice in the present tense is as follows:

 Adjective  + Subject  + To Be   + Past Participle  + Complementizer
 in China. 
 by Ecuador. 
 by Germany. 
 by the Swiss. 

The adjective is optional.

  • Many newspapers are printed each day around the world. (active) 
  • Around the world
     many newspapers are printed each day. (passive) 
  • Thousands of tourists visit Mount Rainier each year. (active) 
  • Mount Rainier
     is visited by thousands of tourists each year. (passive) 
  • Malaysia produces good quality rubber. (active) 
  • Good quality rubber
     is produced in Malaysia. (passive) 

Passive Voice – Past Tense

The passive voice is also used in the past tense.

  • Hemingway wrote good novels. (active voice) 
  • Good novels
     were written by Hemingway. (passive voice)
  • The Romans defeated many armies. (active voice) 
  • Many armies
     were defeated by the Romans. (passive voice) 
  • A hurricane destroyed the village. (active voice) 
  • The village
     was destroyed by a hurricane. (passive voice) 

The structure for the passive voice in the past is the same as it is in the present except we use the simple
past tense of the verb “to be”.

 Subject  + To Be (past)  + Past Participle  + Complementizer
Great pyramids
 by the Egyptians. 
Large statues
 on Easter Island. 
 by dinosaurs.
San Francisco
 by an earthquake. 
  • A powerful typhoon hit Japan yesterday.  (active)
  • Japan
     was hit by a powerful typhoon yesterday.  (passive)
  • Drunk drivers caused 1,250 accidents last year.  (active)
  • 1,250 accidents
     were caused by drunk drivers last year.  (passive)

Passive Voice – Future Tense

The passive voice can also be used in the future tense. The structure is a little bit different for the passive voice
in the future tense, than it is in the present and the past passive voice.

  • Scientists will make great discoveries of the universe in the future. (active) 
  • Great discoveries
     of the universe will be made by scientists in the future. (passive) 
  • Brazil will win the next World Cup. (active) 
  • The next World Cup
     will be won by Brazil. (passive) 
  • Sony will continue to build good products. (active) 
  • Good products
     will be continued to be made by Sony. (passive) 

The structure for the passive voice in the future is as follows:

 Subject  + Will Be  + Past Participle  + Complementizer
 will be
 by many people. 
 will be
 by thousands of tourists. 
Many people
 will be
 by brilliant teachers in the future. 
 will be
 by more efficient forms of fuel. 
  • Many students will be expelled if they don’t change their behavior. 
  • The planet will be destroyed if we don’t take care of it. 
  • Many planets will be visited by people in the future. 
  • A cure for AIDS will be discovered by scientists soon. 
  • Many bottles of champagne will be sold during the New Year’s Eve celebration. 

Passive Voice with Modal Verbs

As with all other structures in English we can use the passive voice with modal verbs.

  • The scientist might develop a vaccine very soon. (active)
  • A vaccine
     might be developed by the scientists very soon. (passive) 
  • We must finish this job by Friday. (active) 
  • This job
     must be finished by Friday. (passive) 
  • (object)
  • We should mail the letter as soon as possible. (active) 
  • The letter
     should be mailed as soon as possible. (passive)
  • (subject)

The structure for the passive voice with other modal versb is the same as the one for the passive voice with
the modal verb “will”.

 Object  + Modal Verb  + Be  + Past Participle  + Complementizer
A thank you note
 as soon as possible. 
This job
 by tomorrow. 
The decree
A new vaccine
Traffic accidents
 by driving carefully. 

Passive Voice with the Present Perfect Tense

The perfect tenses are not exception to the passive voice. Here we have some examples that illustrate the use of the passive voice with the perfect tense.

  • I have changed many things in my life. (active) 
  • Many things
     have been change by me in my life. (passive) 
  • The scientist have made many new discoveries in the last few years. (active) 
  • Many new discveries
     have been made by the scientists in the last few years. (passive) 
  •             (subject)
  • He has found a new sponsor for the team. (active)
  • A new sponsor
     for the team has been found. (passive) 

The structure for the passive voice with the perfect tense is as follows:

 Object  + Have/Has Been  + Past Participle  + Complementizer
Many events
 have been
 in the last few days. 
New discoveries
 have been
 by scientists lately. 
Our school
 has been
to receive an award recently.