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POR RRHH Digital, 00:06 - 27 de Febrero del 2014

When mastering a B2 level, it is very important to really use the passive voice in certain contexts. Here you have some rules.


The passive voice is made with the different tenses of the verb to be + past participle. Most verbs with an object (transitive verbs) can be made passive; Verbs with no object (intransitive) cannot be passive.

· Present Simple: The sauce is made of oranges.

· Present Continuous: Seven hundred staff are being made redundant.

· Past Simple: It was invented in 1938 by Chester Carlson.

· Present Perfect: All the money in the safe has been stolen.

· Past Continuous: The factory was being built when I last came here.

· Future with will: A weak signal will be emitted.

· Future with going to: A division is going to be sold.

· Modal: My boss may be given a pay rise this year.

Uses of the passive:

· When you do not know who or what does the action.

The cable TV is connected to our phone.

The eggs are made of chocolate.

· When you are not interested in who or what does something:

All the electrical appliances were shut down.

· When you want to take away the focus of personal responsibility, especially in sales brochures and product information to give an official tone.

It is believed that the fault will be repaired in due course.

We usually begin a passive sentence with the known information and end the sentence with the new information. You can use a passive infinitive as the subject of a sentence for emphasis.

To be connected by e-mail is not very sociable.

You can use a passive infinitive without to after modal verbs.

The Internet should be controlled by the government.

· To describe processes.

The data has to be collected, then it’s analyzed, and finally the results are published.

Uses of the passive Gerund:

· As the subject of a sentence.

Being connected to an e-mail system is very useful.

· As the object of a sentence.

Most people like being contacted by e-mail.

· With a preposition.

People are afraid of being censored by the government.

Passive with agent:

You can use the passive voice and still say who or what performed an action by using by or with.

· You use by to say who or what was responsible for the action.

The basement has been flooded by the washing machine.

· You use with to talk about the instrument which is used to perform the action.

The lights were switched on with the car phone.

You also use with to talk about materials or ingredients.

The bedroom windows are covered with ice.

Passive constructions with say, believe, etc.

You can use the following passive constructions with verbs of speech or thought to show that you are not sure of the truth of the statement or that you want to distance yourself from it. You use these constructions in a formal style.

You can use it + passive + that clause.

It is believed that the government will reduce the taxes.

You can use subject + passive + to +infinitive when the belief or thought is referring to an earlier action.

The government is said to have reduced the taxes.

Here are some of the verbs you can use:

consider expect know report say understand

think consider allege claim acknowledge

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