Your Essential Guide To Passive Voice Ep 672

A woman reading a red book and eating an apple. Unlock Secrets: Discover how native English speakers use passive voice-even in casual chats!

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

🎈 Updated On:

💬 3733 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 19 min

📥 Download 12.3 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript

English grammar passive voice: The secret weapon you never knew you needed.

Have you ever been puzzled by the passive voice? Do you wonder why native English speakers use it so frequently in everyday conversation? Say hello to the ultimate guide that'll unravel all the intricacies of the #passivevoice in English!

Here's Why This Lesson Is a Game-Changer:

  • 💡 Clarity: Breaks down what passive voice is, how to construct it, and why it’s so darn important.
  • 🎯 Real-world Examples: Helps you understand when and where passive voice is commonly used—like in news reporting, politics, and scientific studies.
  • 🤔 Quiz Time: Provides a thorough quiz at the end of the lesson to help you test your mastery.
  • 🎧 Replay Value: Complex topic made simple! Listen a few times, and you'll get the hang of it.
  • 👋 Instructor-led: Led by Hilary, a seasoned expert from Adept English, guiding you every step of the way.
  • 📚 Multi-Tense Coverage: Tackles passive voice across all tenses, so you get a complete understanding.
The passive voice is safe.
⭐ William Zinsser, from: On Writing Well

✔Lesson transcript:

In today's lesson, we'll dig deep into the passive voice-a trick of the trade that even 82% of our listeners wanted to know more about! This isn't just some grammar rule that collects dust in academic textbooks; people use it in everyday conversations, news reports, and even in science journals. We'll not only show you what it is, but how to construct it, flip it, and master it across all tenses.

Oh, and for those who think they're already experts? Buckle up! We've got a 'Passive Voice Quiz' that might just humble you a bit. It's practice made perfect! Don't let your #englishlearning hit a snag. Discover how to confidently use passive voice and sound more like a native speaker. This lesson is not just a one-time listen; it's your long-term English companion!

Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression. And like all impressions, you are in total control.
⭐ Jeffrey Gitomer

So, are you in or are you out? Dive into this lesson, and elevate your English skills like never before! 📌 Visit for this lesson and hundreds more! 👇 Don't Forget to Share & Review! 🌟

More About This Lesson

Unlock the mysteries of the passive voice with Adept English! Our latest podcast dives deep into learning this crucial aspect of English. Perfect for learners interested in British English, the lesson offers a hands-on quiz and uses real-world examples to make your learning stick.

Don’t let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.
⭐ Steve Jobs

Things you will learn listening to this English grammar lesson:, you will discover:

  1. Introduction of Passive Voice Topic: Sets clear expectations for what the lesson will cover.
  2. Real-World Usage of Passive Voice: Highlights that native speakers use it in daily conversations.
  3. Explanation of Passive Voice: Clearly defines what it is and how to construct it.
  4. Quiz Mention: Adds an interactive element for self-assessment.
  5. Active vs Passive Voice: Demonstrates the difference with simple, relatable sentences.
  6. Use Cases in Different Fields: Shares how scientists, teachers, and reporters use passive voice.
  7. Detailed Examples: Walks through sentence structure in both active and passive forms.
  8. Tense Coverage: Comprehensive review of passive voice in various tenses.
  9. Quiz: Opportunity for practical application and reinforcement.
  10. Answers to Quiz: Instant feedback to help learners gauge their understanding.
  11. Encouragement for Repetition: Stresses the importance of repeat listening for mastery.
  12. Sign-off & Additional Resources: Directs listeners to where they can find more lessons.

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

  • Deep Understanding: Don't just learn the basics. We dissect passive voice across all tenses.
  • Active Engagement: Our Passive Voice Quiz lets you test your knowledge on the spot.
  • Real-world Use: See how the passive voice works in daily life, from conversations to scientific papers.

Become Fluent Faster: Sharpen your English skills effortlessly by tuning into easy-to-follow explanations and real-world examples.

  1. Why Master Passive Voice: Many learners struggle with it, but native speakers use it often.
  2. Quiz for Hands-On Learning: Test what you've learned with our interactive quiz.
  3. From Basic to Expert: We take you step-by-step, making the complex simple.
  4. Solve Your Fears: We tackle common worries about using the passive voice, offering solutions for each.
Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.
⭐ Richard C. Trench

Repeat and Retain: Listen multiple times for deep learning that sticks.

  • Don't Get Lost in Conversation: Master passive voice to understand native speakers with ease.
  • Be Test-Ready: Our quiz prepares you for any language test that covers the passive voice.
  • Speak with Confidence: Know when and how to use each voice when you speak.

Ready to turn your English up a notch? Don't miss out on this game-changing lesson. Plug in your earphones and let's crack the code of passive voice together! Unlock the keys to fluent conversation. Learn the ins and outs of passive voice today! #FluentInEnglish

Questions You Might Have...

Imagine you're a musician, fine-tuning your instrument. The passive voice in English is like that elusive note—hard to pin down but essential for the full symphony of language. This English lesson is your musical score, guiding you through the composition of sentences. It equips you with the tools to create a compelling linguistic masterpiece, toggling between the active and passive voice like a maestro wielding his baton. This isn't just English; it's your orchestrated English life! Dive deep, practice with the interactive quiz, and master this crucial note in your language repertoire.

  1. What is the main goal of the lesson on passive voice? The main goal of the lesson is to enhance your English fluency by diving deep into the construction and usage of the passive voice. It breaks down its different tenses and offers a quiz for hands-on practice.
  2. Why is it important to understand passive voice when learning British English? Understanding passive voice matters because native speakers use it frequently, even in casual conversations. Mastering this concept enriches your comprehension of British English, allowing you to engage more naturally in various settings.
  3. How does the podcast quiz contribute to my understanding of passive voice? The quiz serves as a practical exercise to test your grasp of the passive voice across different tenses. It reinforces your learning, making it easier for you to use the passive voice accurately.
  4. Does the passive voice hold any real-world applications? Absolutely. Passive voice is commonly used in science, news reporting, and politics to shift focus from the "doer" to the action or outcome. For example, instead of saying "Scientists fed rats Omega-3 supplements," you'd hear "Rats were fed Omega-3 supplements."
  5. What tenses are covered when discussing the passive voice? The lesson provides comprehensive coverage of all major English tenses in passive voice, from simple present to future perfect. The goal here is to familiarize you with how the passive voice works across different tenses.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Podcast: An online audio show you can listen to.
  • Construct: To build or make something.
  • Norm: A rule or standard that most people follow.
  • Adjective: A word that describes a noun (like "big" or "happy").
  • Tenses: Different forms of verbs that show when an action happens.
  • Quiz: A short test to check what you know.
  • Evasive: Not clear or direct, often on purpose.
  • Mechanics: How something works or the rules of how something is done.
  • Diplomatic: Skilled in dealing with people and not causing offence.
  • Recap: A quick review or summary of what has been said or done.

Most Frequently Used Words:


Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: Your Essential Guide to Passive Voice

Podcast on Passive Voice

Hi there. Remember the podcast I did on sentence structure recently - and word order? It was podcast 669 - very recent. Well, we did a Spotify poll and 82% of you said you’d like a whole podcast on the passive voice. So ‘no time like the present’ as we say in English - here it is! Did you know that native English speakers use the passive voice a lot, even in casual conversations? Surprised? Well, it’s not just used in formal speech or written English. Stick around, because today we're going to cover passive voice thoroughly and practise using it, in all of its tenses!

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.
⭐ Frank Smith

I’ll explain what the passive voice is - and how to construct it. I’ll talk about why and where it’s used. And for everyone, but especially the 6% of you, who said they knew the passive voice well enough - listen to the end of this podcast and use my ‘Passive Voice Quiz’ to test how well you know it. The quiz will test that you know the different tenses in the passive voice. It’s good to practise!

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Don’t forget what else Adept English offers!

Don’t forget - if you like our podcasts, there are hundreds more on our website at, including many more grammar podcasts. And of course you can always buy our podcast downloads too. Just go to the Courses page to see what we offer. And if you’re on Spotify, don’t forget that you can help Adept English by sharing this podcast. I’m sure you know someone else who’d like to learn the passive voice.

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

Explanation of Passive Voice

So, most sentences in English are in the ‘active voice’ - that’s the norm. The word ‘active’, ACTIVE as an adjective means you’re ‘busy, full of action, always doing things’. And by contrast, the word ‘passive’, PASSIVE as an adjective means ‘you sit back, allow things to be done to you, wait and see what happens’. That’s ‘passive’. So if you’re the subject of the sentence and the verb is in active voice - you’re the one doing the action - ‘I hugged my daughter’. But if you’re the subject of the sentence in passive voice, you’re being acted upon - ‘I was hugged by my daughter’. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

So passive voice came up when I was talking in podcast 669 about word order and how in statements, it’s usually Subject-Verb-Object. ‘The dog chased the cat’. ‘I ate the apple’. ‘Millions of people watched the film’. So in those active voice sentences, the subject, the one doing the action comes first, then the verb, then the object - the thing that the action is being done to. But how do they sound in passive voice? Active voice first….

The dog chased the cat - becomes in passive voice - the cat was chased by the dog. I ate the apple - becomes in passive voice - the apple was eaten by me. Millions of people watched the film - becomes in passive voice - the film was watched by millions of people.


A photograph of a scientist. Grammar Mastery: Learn to build passive voice sentences like a pro, and know when to use them

©️ Adept English 2023

Passive Voice changes the focus of the sentence

Notice how the focus shifts from the doer of the action to the receiver of the action?

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.
⭐ Rita Mae Brown

We’ve swapped around the subject and the object of the sentence - so what was the object in the active voice has jumped to become first in word order in the passive voice and it’s become the subject of the verb, so the verb must agree with it. So ‘the cat’, ‘the apple’ and ‘the film’ are now each the subject in the new passive voice sentences. And the person or thing that was the subject in the active voice sentence - well, it’s like they’ve been ‘demoted’. They may be mentioned after the verb, but it makes the person or thing doing the action less important, an afterthought even. And you can even leave them out altogether. Sometimes that makes a less meaningful sentence - ‘the cat was chased’ or ‘the film was watched’. Both of those may have you thinking ‘Who by?’ or ‘By whom?’. But sometimes, passive voice allows us flexibility and choice. We can name who ate the apple - or we can simply leave that information out - and say ‘The apple was eaten’. We may not know who ate it - or we may not want to ‘point the finger of blame’! We’re being diplomatic in other words and not ‘naming names’.

Uses of the Passive Voice

There are many other reasons why you may want to leave out who did the action. Sometimes we don’t know. Imagine being in school again and someone has done something naughty and the teacher’s telling off the class of children. She might say ‘The window has been broken’ or ‘The bin has been tipped over and rubbish has been left on the floor’. Or ‘The classroom scissors have been lost’. The teacher may have her suspicions, but she doesn’t know for sure who’s done it. So she’s using passive voice because she doesn’t know who did it!

Let's say you're reading a scientific paper. You might find sentences like "Rats were fed Omega-3 supplements." Who fed them? It doesn’t really matter. The focus is on the experiment and the results. That's why scientists use the passive voice all the time, to write up their studies - it highlights the important information.

Passive voice is also used in news reporting and politics. Sometimes things are done by governments - and again, it’s not important which person, which civil servant or government employee actually collected the data or put together the report. The focus is on the content of the report or the data itself. So the passive voice has its uses. Sometimes, the passive voice can seem a little ‘evasive’ - we’re not saying ‘who did it’, we’re not naming names - even if it might be more honest. But there’s nothing wrong grammatically with using the passive voice - there are very good reasons for using it.

The grammar of the Passive Voice

So grammar. How do you make an ‘active voice’ sentence into a ‘passive voice ‘sentence’?

As I’ve said - what was the object of the verb in the active voice, swaps to become the subject and first in the word order in the passive voice. But the verb also changes. For passive voice, we use the verb ‘to be’, which must agree with the subject and have the correct tense. Finally we add the past participle. Yes, the past participle - despite its name, it isn’t just used for the past tense! So examples of past participles are ‘chased’, ‘cleaned’, ‘done’, ‘found’ and we use it for passive voice. ‘The windows were cleaned’, ‘The homework will be done’, ‘The lost puppies have been found’. Let’s cover all the tenses in English - so this will be a quick recap for many of you on tenses. I’ll give you the form for the passive voice for each one.

Present tense

Simple present ‘I do the cooking’ in the passive voice becomes - ‘The cooking is done by me’.

Present Continuous tense - ‘I am doing the cooking’ in the passive voice becomes ‘The cooking is being done by me’. If you know it, try and say it ahead of me.

Past tense

Simple past - ‘I did the cooking’ becomes in passive voice ‘The cooking was done by me’. Past Continuous tense ‘I was doing the cooking’ becomes ‘The cooking was being done by me’. Present Perfect tense - ‘I have done the cooking’ becomes in passive voice ‘The cooking has been done by me’. Past Perfect Tense - ‘I had done the cooking’ becomes ‘The cooking had been done by me’.

Future tense

Simple Future - ‘I will do the cooking’ becomes ‘The cooking will be done by me’. Future Perfect - ‘I will have done the cooking’ becomes ‘the cooking will have been done by me’.

OK. You might want to listen to that a few times, so that the mechanics of the passive voice become clearer and easier to remember.

Listening Lessons

Hilary’s Passive Voice Quiz

Let’s do a quiz? Chance for you to practise your tenses and changing sentences between active and passive voice. So I’ll say whether it’s active or passive - and I’ll say the sentence. Then you need to change it to the other one. And remember - you need the verb agreeing with the new subject and use the same tense as I use. Quite a lot to do then! Here goes.

  1. Active voice ‘The dogs were chasing the rabbit’. You do passive voice?

  2. Passive voice ‘The biscuits had been baked by the neighbour’s children’. You do active voice.

  3. Active voice ‘They have seen the boy who smashed the window.’ Can you put that into the passive voice?

  4. In the passive voice ‘The dinner will have been eaten by them, by the time you arrive’. Can you put that into the active voice?

  5. Active voice ‘He is using up the leftover chicken.’ What does the passive voice sound like?

  6. Passive Voice ‘The doors and windows are checked each evening by my father’. What does the active voice sound like?

Last one...

  1. Active Voice ‘I will pick the apples on the tree’. You do passive voice.

OK. You can pause there after the quiz and listen again.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

Hilary’s Passive Voice Quiz Answers

Or you can continue straight to the answers. I’ll say the original sentence and then I’ll say whether active or passive and the tense. See if you can say the tense too and then I’ll give you the answer.

  1. ‘The dogs were chasing the rabbit’ - that’s active and past continuous tense. So in the passive voice - ‘The rabbit was being chased by the dogs’.

  2. ‘The biscuits had been baked by the neighbour’s children’. That’s passive voice and past perfect tense. In the active voice - ‘The neighbour’s children had baked the biscuits’.

  3. ‘They have seen the boy who smashed the window’ - active voice and present perfect tense. In the passive voice - ‘The boy who smashed the window has been seen by them’.

  4. The dinner will have been eaten by them, by the time you arrive’. So that’s passive voice and future perfect tense. In the active voice - ‘They will have eaten the dinner by the time you arrive’.

  5. ‘He is using up the leftover chicken.’ So active voice, present continuous tense. Same sentence in the passive voice? ‘The leftover chicken is being used up by him’.

  6. ‘The doors and windows are checked each evening by my father’ - that’s passive voice and simple present tense. In the active voice? ‘My father checks the doors and windows each evening’.

  7. ‘I will pick the apples on the tree’. So that’s active voice and future tense - simple future. In the passive voice - ‘The apples on the tree will be picked by me’.


OK. How did you find that? Listen to this podcast a few times until you get the hang of it. Passive voice is not easy, but it’s repeat listening, hearing it over and over that will help you automatically know how to do it.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
🔺Top of page

TAWK is Disabled

Created with the help of Zola and Bulma