English Grammar – Passive

Passive voice is used when the focus is on the action. The causer of the action, however, is not important or not known. (In contrast, active voice focusses on the causer of an action.)

Note: In an average English text, no more than 10 percent should be in passive voice. So use the passive sparingly, prefer sentences in active voice.

Form of Passive

 AktivePassive
Simple PresentMr Smith writes the delivery notes.The delivery notes are written (by Mr Smith).
Present ProgressiveMr Smith is writing the delivery notes.The delivery notes are being written (by Mr Smith).
Simple PastMr Smith wrote the delivery notes.The delivery notes were written (by Mr Smith).
Present PerfectMr Smith has written the delivery notes.The delivery notes have been written (by Mr Smith).
Past PerfectMr Smith had written the delivery notes.The delivery notes had been written (by Mr Smith).
FutureMr Smith will write the delivery notes.The delivery notes will be written (by Mr Smith).
Ausiliary VerbsMr Smith must write the delivery notes.The delivery notes must be written (by Mr Smith).

Detailed Explanation and Exercises on Passive

Exercise on Passive

Rewrite the sentences in passive voice.

  1. I confirm the reservation.
  2. We will deliver the goods immediately.
  3. We arranged a meeting.
  4. You can cancel the contract within five business days.
  5. They execute all orders carefully.
  6. You have made a mistake.
  7. We are processing your order.
  8. Jane had booked a flight.
  9. He has not answered our letter.
  10. She did not sign the contract.