Using the active and passive voice
An active sentence like I drank two cups of coffee has the subject first (the person or thing that does the verb),followed by the verb, and finally the object (the person or thing that the action happens to).
So, in this example, the subject is I, the verb is drank and the object istwo cups of coffee.
But, we don't always need to make sentences this way. We might want to put the object first, or not say who did something, for lots of reasons(see the explanation further down the page).
In this case, we can use a passive, which puts the object first: for example, two cups of coffee were drunk. We can add by meif we want, but it isn't necessary.
How to make the Passive in English
We make it by putting the verb 'to be' into whatever tense we need and then adding the pastparticiple.
(For regular verbs, we make the past participle by adding 'ed' to the infinitive - play becomes played, click here to learn about irregular verbs)
tense| active | passive |
present simple | I make a cake | A cake is made (by me) |
present continuous | I am making a cake | A cake is being made (by me) |
pastsimple | I made a cake | A cake was made (by me) |
past continuous | I was making a cake | A cake was being made (by me) |
present perfect | I have made a cake | A cakehas been made (by me) |
pres. perf. continuous | I have been making a cake | A cake has been being made (by me) |
past perfect | I had made a cake | A cake had beenmade (by me) |
future simple | I will make a cake | A cake will be made (by me) |
future perfect | I will have made a cake | A cake will have been made (by me) |