Passive voice is used when the focus is on
the action. It is not important or not known,
however, who or what is performing 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:
Example: A mistake was made. In this case, I focus
on the fact that a mistake was made, but I do not
Form of Passive
Subject + finite form of to be + Past Participle + Agent
Example: A letter was written.
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.
P. 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.
Present Progressive Active: Rita is writing a letter. Passive: A letter is being written by Rita.
Past Progressive Active: Rita was writing a letter. Passive: A letter was being written by Rita.
Past Perfect Active: Rita had written a letter. Passive: A letter had been written by Rita.
Future II Active: Rita will have written a letter. Passive: A letter will have been written by Rita
Verbs with two objects
Some verbs that have two objects can make two different active sentences, and so two
different passive sentences too: Give Active: He gave me the book / He gave the book to
me. You can choose either of the two objects to be the subject of the passive sentence.
Passive: I was given the book (by him)/ The book was given to me (by him). Other verbs
like this are: ask, offer, teach, tell, lend, promise, sell, throw