Passive Voice

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- Happens when the object of a sentence comes to the front (becomes the subject)


a.  Salina tends the plant carefully.

The plant is tended by Salina carefully. (passive)

b.  Nine planets orbit the sun.

The sun is orbited by nine planets. (passive)

- Forming the passive constructions: To form a passive verb, add verb-to-be (e.g. is /are /was /were /will be / has to be etc.) to the past participle of a verb. See the table below:




1.      Simple Present

a.       We filter the water.

b.      She filters the water

The water is filtered


2.      Simple Past

a.       We filtered the water.

b.      She filtered the water.

The water was filtered.

3.      Present Perfect

a.       We have filtered the water

The water has been filtered.

4.      Past Perfect

a.       We had filtered the water

The water had been filtered.

5.      Present Cont.

a.       We are filtering the water

The water is being filtered.

6.      Past Continuous

a.       We were filtering the water

The water was being filtered.

7.      Future

a.       We will filter the water

b.      We are going to filter the water

The water will be filtered.

The water is going to be filtered.

Exercise 1

Put the verbs in the brackets into the Passive Voice. Use ‘is’ or ‘are’ + the past participle.

1.      A lot of paddy ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (grow) in Kuala Pilah.

2.      The Bond knife  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (make) of steel.

3.      Beautiful red roses  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (sell) in the florist.

4.      Black Oreo biscuits  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (pack) in tins.

5.      The origin of these orchids  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (know) to be from Venezuela.

6.      The Dalmation­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (buy) by Cruella.

7.      The intricate map to the old castle  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (draw) by Count Vescito.

8.      The refugees  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (feed) healthy porridge.

Exercise 2

Put the verbs in the brackets into the Passive Voice. Use ‘was’ or ‘were’ + the past participle.

1.      My Rolex watch  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (repair) yesterday.

2.      Your shoes  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (find) near the clogged drain.

3.      The garden  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (not weed) and the plants  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (not water).

4.      The third goal  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (score) just after half-time. A few minutes later, two of our players  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (injure) and they  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (carry) out of the field.

5.      We  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (tell) what to do at the meeting. After the meeting, we _________________ (also give) a lot of written instructions.

6.      There was nothing else to do there. The plates  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (wash), the room  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (sweep) and even the dustbin  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (empty).

Exercise 3

Put the verbs in the brackets into the Passive Voice. Use ‘has been’ or ‘have been’ + the past participle.

1.      The bell  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (ring).

2.      Those boxes  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (take) by Aynee.

3.      A statue  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (steal) by a group of thieves.

4.      Those difficult sums  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (teach) by a personal tutor.

5.      The old bridges  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (repair) but no one is allowed to use it.

6.      The plates and glasses  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________ (not wash) yet.


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About Girija Nair And Meena Mohan Das

Ms. Girija Nair is an experienced teacher of English Language in primary and secondary level since 1980. She secured her teaching certificate from Raja Melewar Teacher’s Training College, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia (1980). She also has a  Diploma in ESL from University of Malaya, Malaysia (1987), a degree in TESL from University Pertanian Malaysia (1996) and a Masters degree in Speech and Language Pathology from University of Malaya, Malaysia (2002). Apart from everyday teaching, She also works as a  Teacher-trainer in various academic programmes organised at the Ministry, State and District levels.She is also well-known as an Examiner in oral and written forms. Sheis also actively involved in various co-academic programmes involving teachers and students. In recognition of her contributions, she has been awarded the Excellent Service Award in 2005 and 2008 by the department of Education in Malaysia.She has been appointed as a Master Teacher in 2010 and is currently teaching in Palong Timur Secondary School. She is also involved in preparing modules and exam questions at the state and district levels.

Mrs. Meena Mohan Das is an elementary school teacher in Malaysia since July1988. She was born in Kluang, a district in the state of Johor. She obtained her certificate in Teacher Training from Mohd Khalid Teacher’s Training College in Johor Bahru, Johor. Her first posting was in Kupang Primary School in Kedah where she taught for six months. Thereafter, she moved to LKTP Felda Kemelah Primary school from 1989 to 1990 and subsequently to Sri Skudai Primary School in December 1990 till present. She has been the Head of the English Language Panel since 1995 in the present school. She has also been a recipient for a Merit Award in 2006 for excellent performance in school.  She obtained her Bachelor of Education in TESL in University Putra Malaysia in 2002. In 2014 she graduated from University Teknologi Malaysia with Masters in Teaching of English as a Second Language.  The research topics done are “Use Of Mind-Mapping and Flashcards in Vocabulary Development among Year 5 Students” and “Process Writing to Enhance Writing Abilities among Year 5 Students”. She has co-authored a journal with Dr Shanthi Sandaran on “The Importance of Vocabulary Development for English Language Teaching and Learning: The Malaysian ESL Context”. 

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