The Passive


  • FORM
    • Positive


      A meeting has been arranged.
      A sports centre will be built next year.
      The office wasn't cleaned.
      Coffee isn't grown in Scotland.


      Short answer

      Was the problem solved?
      Has my wallet been found?
      Yes, it was. / No, it wasn't.
      Yes, it has. / No, it hasn't.
  • Function
    • Use the passive to show that you are more interested in the person or thing being affected by an action than the person or thing which performs the action.

      e.g. This room is cleaned every day.
      e.g. Volvo cars are manufactured in Sweden.
  • Help
    • Consider this active sentence: The janitor cleans this room everyday.
      In fact, the room and its state may be more important to us than the person who performs the task of cleaning it. Therefore we can express this idea in a passive form: This room is cleaned everyday.

      If we want to add who performs the action, we include the word by.
      This room is cleaned everyday by the janitor.

      In the example above, the verb to be is expressed in the present simple as it describes a habitual action. The tense of the verb to be can change to reflect when the action takes place. In each case the verb to be is followed by the past participle.

      This room was cleaned yesterday. ( past simple)
      This room is being cleaned at the moment.( present continuous)
      This room has been cleaned recently. ( present perfect)
      This room will be cleaned tomorrow. ( future)

The Passive Practice Test

Select the best answer to complete the sentences below. Sometimes it may seem that two answers are possible but there is always a BEST answer. Check your score at the end of the test by clicking 'RESULTS'.

Complete each sentence by selecting the best answer

  1. 01. You needn't leave a tip. Service in the bill.

  2. 02. Your house is very old. When ?

  3. 03. J.K. Rowling's new book next year.

  4. 04. This photo is a little dark because it late yesterday evening.

  5. 05. This woollen jumper isn't suitable for machines. It by hand.

  6. 06. The telephone was invented in 1876 Alexander Graham Bell.

  7. 07. My car isn't here. I think it .

  8. 08. A press conference at present by the two political leaders.

  9. 09. Levi jeans in the USA since the late nineteenth century.

  10. 10. The final result was one-nil and the goal by Juan Perez in the twenty-eighth minute.

  11. 11. A man in London in connection with the theft of a masterpiece by Picasso.

  12. 12. You a full invoice when you check out of the hotel.

  13. 13. A thermometer to measure temperature.

  14. 14. Paris for the company head office because of its central European location.

  15. 15. This wine at room temperature.

  16. 16. A message from the President on national television.

  17. 17. When you return to the office, to write a report about your business trip?

  18. 18. I didn't go to school. I at home by my parents.

  19. 19. At the moment all our records .

  20. 20. Rice In China.

For more help and practice exercises, go back to Tutorials & Practice Tests.
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