So far in this course, we have spoken only of the active voice, where the action of the verb is focused on the subject. When we want to give more importance to the action, rather than the subject, we use what is known as the passive voice.
The passive is formed using the auxiliary verb “to be” and the past participle of the principal verb.
To change the sentence from an active one to a passive one, there are several points to keep in mind:
1. The object of an active voice sentence becomes the subject of the sentence in the passive.
2. The principal verb in the active voice is substituted by the auxiliary verb “to be”, in the same verb tense, and the verb is then in the past participle form.
3. The subject in the active voice becomes the complement in the passive.
4. If in the passive we mention the subject who completed the action (subject agent), this subject is normally introduced in the passive with the preposition “by”.
1. We use the passive voice when we do not know who completed the action.
2. We use the active voice when we want to give more importance to the action and not who completed the action or when we don’t want to say who completed the action.
Note: We cannot use the passive voice with intransitive verbs such as “die”, “arrive” or “go” because these verbs are not used with direct objects.