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to be + past participle

How to form a passive sentence when an active sentence is given:
- object of the “active” sentence becomes subject in the “passive” sentence
- subject of the “active” sentence becomes “object” in the “passive” sentence” (or is left out)

Active: Peter builds a house.
Passiv
Passive: A house is built by Peter.

Use of Passive

Use these passive tense for actions where the enphasis is on the object of the action. Example:

  • My bike was stolen.

In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it.

Sometimes a statement in passive is more polite than active voice, as the following example shows:

  • A mistake was made.

In this case, I focus on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not blame anyone (e.g. You have made a mistake.).

Use the passive of the present continuous for ongoing actions. Example:

  • An increasing number of degrees Are being offerd online.

Use the passive of the present perfect for recently completed actions. Example:

  • More music has been downloaded this year than ever before.

Use will + passive or be going to + passive for actions that will begin in the future. Example:

  • More computers will be infected by viruses.
  • More health-care sites are going to be used by people from home.

If the agent (the person or thing doing the action) is unknown or obvious from the context, it’s better to use the passive form. However, if the person or thing doing the action needs to be emphasized, it’s better to use an active form. Examples:

  • The virus was sent to disprut internet service at the college. (unknown agent)
  • College degrees are being offered online. (agent is clear from context)
  • Bill Gates started Microsoft, not Bill Clinton! (emphasize the agent)

The passive cannot be used with the present perfect continuous. Use the passive of the present perfect instead. Examples.

  • People have been downloading more music this year than ever before.
  • More music has been downloaded this year than ever before.
  • Even more music will have been downloaded by this time next year.

Examples of Passive:

Tense Subject Verb Object
Simple Present Active: Rita writes a letter.
Passive: A letter is written by Rita.
Simple Past Active: Rita wrote a letter.
Passive: A letter was written by Rita.
Present Perfect Active: Rita has written a letter.
Passive: A letter has been written by Rita.
Future I Active: Rita will write a letter.
Passive: A letter will be written by Rita.
Hilfsverben Active: Rita can write a letter.
Passive: A letter can be written by Rita.
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