Explanations » B1+ Grammar Explanations » The passive voice – all tenses
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  • The passive voice with the different tenses

    In a passive sentence, the object of an active sentence becomes the subject. Then, we have to use the verb be in the tense we need and add the past participle of the main verb after it. In a passive voice sentence, the subject is the receiver of the action, not the doer of the action.

    • They take the photos in Africa. (active)
    • The photos are taken in Africa. (passive)

    You can see how to use the passive voice with different tenses below.

    A grammar chart explaining the passive voice in all the verb tenses, comparing active and passive forms with examples like "They take the photos" and "The photos are taken."

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    When do we use the passive voice?

    In English, we use the passive voice when we don’t know or we don’t want to talk about who or what does the action in a sentence. Check the following examples.

    • A bank was robbed yesterday. (=We don’t know who robbed the bank.)
    • He was arrested last night. (=It’s obvious that the police arrested him.)
    • I have been told that you insulted my brother. (=I don’t want to say who told me.)
    • Jurassic Park was filmed by Spielberg in 1993. (=I’m talking about Jurassic Park and not about Spielberg.)