Passive voice rule

The passive voice is used when focusing on the person or thing affected by an action.
  • The Passive is formed: Passive Subject + To Be + Past ParticpleThe house was built in 1989.
  • It is often used in business when the object of the action is more important than those who perform the action. For Example:
    We have produced over 20 different models in the past two years. Changes to: Over 20 different models have been produced in the past two years.
  • If the agent is important (the person, company or thing that does the action) , use "by" For Example: Tim Wilson wrote "The Flight to Brunnswick" in 1987. Changes to:"The Flight to Brunnswick" was written in 1987 by Tim Wilson.
  • Only verbs that take an object can be used in the passive voice.

Passive Voice Structure

Active Passive Time Reference
They make Fords in Cologne. Fords are made in Cologne. Present Simple
Susan is cooking dinner. Dinner is being cooked by Susan Present Continuous
James Joyce wrote "Dubliners". "Dubliners" was written by James Joyces. Past Simple
They were painting the house when I arrived. The house was being painted when I arrived. Past Continuous
They have produced over 20 models in the past two years. Over 20 models have been produced in the past two years. Present Perfect
They are going to build a new factory in Portland. A new factory is going to be built in Portland. Future Intention with Going to
I will finish it tomorrow. It will be finished tomorrow. Future Simple