Active: The active voice describes a sentence where a subject does an action to an object

  • Definition

E.g: Somebody stole my laptop

              S              V           O

Passive: The passive voice is used when we want to emphasize the action (the verb) and the object of a sentence rather than subject. This means that the subject is either less important than the action itself or that we don’t know who or what the subject is.

E.g: My laptop  was    stolen  (by somebody) 

             S              be       V3/ed

E.g: John invited Fiona to his birthday party last night.

➤ Fiona was invited to John’s birthday party last month

Her mother is preparing the dinner in the kitchen.

➤ The dinner is being prepared (by her mother) in the kitchen.


S (subject); V (verb); Oi (indirect object); Od (direct object)


She gave me an apple yesterday.

=>   I was given an apple yesterday.

  =>   An apple was given to me yesterday.


Her mother bought her a book yesterday.

=> She was bought a book yesterday.

  => A book was bought for her yesterday.

  • Passive Voice Rules for All Tenses
Tenses Active Passive
Present Simple S + V(s/es) + O S + am/is/are + V3/ed
Present Continuous S + am/is/are + V-ing + O S + am/is/are + being + V3/ed
Present Perfect S + have/has + V3/ed + O S + have/has + been + V3/ed
Past Simple S + V2/ed + O S + was/were + V3/ed
Past Continuous S + was/were + V-ing + O S + was/were + being + V3/ed
Past Perfect S + had + V3/ed + O S + had + been + V3/ed
Future Simple S + will + V-inf + O S + will + be + V3/ed
Future Perfect S + will + have + V3/ed + O S + will + have + been + V3/ed
S + am/is/are going to + V-inf + O S + am/is/are going to + be + V3/ed
 (Modal verb)
(Can, could, would,
should, may, might,
need, must, ought to, have to,…)
S + MV + V-inf + O S + MV + be + V3/ed
  • Passive voice with command

– Close the door!

     V          O

– Open the book!

      V        O


Active   Passive
Clean the floor! The floor should be cleaned
Turn on the lights!  The lights should be turned on.


  • Have sb do st => have st done (by sb): Ask somebody to do/ help


– I have the hairdresser cut my hair every month.

=> I have my hair cut by the hairdresser every month.

  • Get sb to do st => get st done (by sb)
  • – She got her father turn on the TV.

=> She got the TV turned on by her father.

  • Make sb do st => Make st done (by sb)
  • E.g:

– I made my son clean the floor.

=> I made the floor cleaned by my son.

  • Let sb do st => Let st done (by sb)


My father let me cook the dinner yesterday

=> My father let the dinner cooked (by me) yesterday

You can also find out IELTS resources here .

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