Grammar: The passive (be + Past participle)

  1. We often use the passive when it is not said, known or important who does an action.

e.g. A lot of films are shot on location. (be + P.P).

  • If you want to say who did the action, use BY.

e.g. The book was written by me. (be+Past participle+by).

2. There are two possibilities to say things: in the active or in the passive. Compare:

i.e. The book was written in 2011.= The focus is more on the book. (passive)

i.e. I wrote the book last year.= The focus is more on me. (active)

  • We form negatives and questions in the same way as in active sentences.

e.g. A lot of foreign films aren’t subtitled. (Be+not+P.P)

e.g. Is your house being built today? = (To make a question you just need to invest the subject with the verb+Be+P.P).

  • Use the passive to talk about processes, formal writing, such as newspaper reports.

i.e. Then the water is heated to 100 degrees. (Be+Past Participle).

  • Past Participle is the third part of the verbs, e.g (1.TO BE – 2.WAS/WERE- 3. BEEN) 


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