The Present Tense (Passive Voice)

1. Review: the present tense

The present tense is used to describe things that are true:

  • things that are true now
  • things that are always or generally true
  • schedules
  • opinions

To make the present tense, use:

  • verb (in simple form)
(in simple form)
Example sentence
doI do my homework every night.
goHe goes to school on Monday.
haveWe have three cats.
likeChris likes tall girls.
buySheryl buys a new car every year.

2. What is the passive voice?

The passive voice changes ‘x did something to y’ into ‘y has something done to it (by x)’.

It is made by:

  • object + be + perfect participle (+ by subject)

*Perfect participle (p.p.) = gone, done, seen, eaten etc.

‘Be’ changes depending on the tense you want to use (present, past, future, perfect, etc.).

3. The present tense (passive voice)

The present tense (passive) uses the structure:

  • object + be (present) + perfect participle (+ by subject)
P.p.By subjectExample sentence
Youarewantedby your fatherYou should go home: you are wanted by your father.
The Earthisorbitedby one moonThe Earth is orbited by one moon.
This farmisoperatedby a large companyThis farm is not a family business. It is operated by a large company.
All budgetsarecheckedAll budgets are checked before they are made public.

4. Converting a present tense into its passive voice

To change a present tense into its passive voice:

1. swap the subject and object
2. change the present tense verb into ‘be (present) + p.p.’

Present tensePresent tense (passive)
Jules likes Henry.Henry is liked by Jules.
She owns the company.The company is owned by her.
I wash the dishes every day.The dishes are washed every day.
Owen tidies the house each morning.The house is tidied by Owen each morning.
Lotti writes spy books.Spy books are written by Lotti.

5. Exercises

1. Change these sentences into the passive voice:
(i) Someone cuts my hair every two weeks.
(ii) The dog barks at the postman every morning.
(iii) The motor turns the wheels at 100 revolutions per second.

2. Change these sentences out of the passive voice:
(i) 90% of the class are being failed by the teacher.
(ii) The latest war is fought by the drug dealers against the police.
(iii) Every movie he makes is panned by critics.