The Passive Voice
There are two voices
in English, the active and the passive. The
active tells us what the subject does, for example:
- The secretary wrote a letter.
The passive tells us what is done to the subject.
- The letter was written by the secretary.
The passive is made
with the verb "to be" and the past
participle. Here are the main English tenses
used in the passive voice.
will be being
for 10 years.
we had seeds.
we had had seeds.
To state what the
cause of a passive action is, you can use by.
- This photo was taken by my friend.
- I was given this by my brother.
It is often not necessary
to statethe cause of a passive action, especially
when clearly understood or irrelevant. For example:
- The meeting was cancelled. (The meeting's
cancellation is what is important, not who cancelled
- These boots were made in Italy. (The fact
they were made in Italy is what's important,
not who made them.)
When talking abut
the birth of specific people of things we use
the passive form "to be born". For
- I was born in Iran.
- The twins were born just last year.
Get can be
used instead of to be in situations where
something happens. For example:
- Our flight got cancelled = Our flight
- I got paid today = I was paid
be used with general situations and state verbs
(verbs that express a state, not an action).
- He is liked by a lot of people. - OK
gets liked by a lot of people.
- She is known to be a hard-working employee.
gets known to be a hard-working
Get is used more often in informal English.