The passive voice is used to highlight an action being done to a subject, rather than a subject doing an action.
It focuses on the receiver of the action, instead of who or what is doing the action.
All forms of the passive voice are made with the verb “to be” and the past participle.
- When the performer of the action is unknown or obvious
- The car was stolen last night. (We don’t know who stole it.)
- The thief has been arrested. (It’s obvious that the police arrested the thief.)
- When the focus is on the action or the receiver of the action
- The window is broken, so the air conditioning is escaping. (The focus is on the broken window. Who or what broke the window is not important.)
- The lost dog was found. (the important information is that the dog was found, not who found it.)
- In formal or scientific writing
- The experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis.
- A new method for water purification is being developed.
is/am/are + past participle
The book is read by many students.
was/were + past participle
The cake was baked by my mom.
is/am/are being + past participle
The house is being renovated by a construction crew.
was/were being + past participle
The movie was being watched by a large audience.
has/have been + past participle
The project has been completed by the team.
had been + past participle
The documents had been signed by the CEO.
will be + past participle
The package will be delivered tomorrow.
will have been + past participle
The assignment will have been submitted by the deadline.