Active and Passive Verb Forms

August 1, 2010pdf

Read the following sentences:

He is writing a letter. (Active)
A letter is being written by him. (Passive)

You will have noticed that the verb changes its form when the sentence is changed from the active voice to the passive voice. The passive form of the verb is constructed by putting appropriate auxiliary verbs before the past participle form of the active verb.

The active and passive forms of the verb write are given below:

When the active verb is in the simple present tense

Active verb: write/writes

Passive verb: is/am/are written

  • He writes a letter.
  • A letter is written by him.

When the active verb is in the present continuous tense

Active verb: is/am/are writing

Passive verb: is/am/are being written

  • He is writing a letter. (Active)
  • A letter is being written by him. (Passive)

When the active verb is in the present perfect tense

Active verb: has/have written

Passive verb: has/have been written

  • He has written a letter. (Active)
  • A letter has been written by him. (Passive)

When the active verb is in the simple past tense

Active verb: wrote

Passive verb: was/were written

  • He wrote a letter. (Active)
  • A letter was written by him. (Passive)

When the active verb is in the past continuous tense

Active: was/were writing

Passive: was/were being written

  • He was writing a letter. (Active)
  • A letter was being written by him. (Passive)

When the active verb is in the past perfect tense

Active verb: had written

Passive verb: had been written

  • He had written a letter.
  • A letter had been written by him.

When the active verb is in the simple future tense

Active verb: will/shall write

Passive verb: will/shall be written

  • He will write a letter. (Active)
  • A letter will be written by him. (Passive)

When the active verb is in the future perfect tense

Active verb: will/shall have written

Passive verb: will/shall have been written

  • He will have written a letter.
  • A letter will have been written by him.
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