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Active and Passive Voice

The active voice (where the verb's subject is understood to denote the doer, or agent), of the denoted action) is the unmarked voice in English.

To form the passive voice (where the subject denotes the undergoer, or patient), of the action), a periphrastic construction is used.

In the canonical form of the passive, a form of the auxiliary verb be (or sometimes get) is used, together with the past participle of the lexical verb. Passive voice can be expressed in combination together with tenses, aspects and moods, by means of appropriate marking of the auxiliary (which for this purpose is not a stative verb, i.e. it has progressive forms available).

For example:

  • This room is tidied regularly. (simple present passive)
  • It had already been accepted. (past perfect passive)
  • Dinner is being cooked right now. (present progressive passive)

The passive forms of certain of the combinations involving the progressive aspect are quite rare; these include the present perfect progressive (it has been being written), past perfect progressive (it had been being written), future progressive (it will be being written), future perfect progressive (it will have been being written), conditional progressive (it would be being written) and conditional perfect progressive (it would have been being written). Because of the awkwardness of these constructions, they may be paraphrased, for example using the expression in the process of (it has been in the process of being written, it will be in the process of being written, and similar).

The uses of these various passive forms are analogous to those of the corresponding tense–aspect–mood combinations in the active voice.

License: CC BY-SA 3.0. Source: wikipedia (1)

See also

Auxiliary verb

Finite verb



Irregular verb


Phrasal verb

Transitive and intransitive verb

Verb mood

Verb tense