Elizabeth O'Brien

Hello! I'm Elizabeth O'Brien, and my goal is to get you jazzed about grammar. 

What are passive verbs?

Today, I'm answering a question about passive verbs.

My daughter had a homework assignment where she had to identify whether certain sentences were active or passive. We struggled with it. Could you give us a lesson on passive verbs and include example sentences?

Please put me out of my misery.

- Claire

Quick Refresher

  • Subjects tell us whom or what a sentence is about. Mary sang.

Passive Verbs Lesson

Action verbs can be written in two different "voices." 

These voices tell us whether the subject is performing the action (active voice) or receiving the action (passive voice).

Subject Performs the Action = Active Voice

When the subject of a sentence is performing the action, the sentence is written in the active voice.

In the following examples, the subjects are underlined and the verbs are in bold. Notice that the subjects are performing the actions

My grandma made this scarf.

The class took the test.

The storm demolished many buildings.

All of those sentences are in the active voice.

Subject Receives the Action = Passive Voice

When the subject of the sentence is receiving the action, the sentence is written in the passive voice. 

Look over these sentences and notice that the subjects are not doing anything. They are simply receiving the action. 

This scarf was made by my grandma.

The test was taken by the class.

Many buildings were demolished by the storm.

All of those sentences are in the passive voice.

Test Yourself

Let's see how much you know. Go through these ten sentences and identify whether they are passive or active.

Start by identifying the subject. Next, decide whether the subject is performing the action (active) or receiving the action (passive).

1. The teacher rang the bell. 

2. The school bell was rung. 

3. I watched television. 

4. A new tax was introduced by the government. 

5. Mom whistled a tune. 

6. John sent me the details. 

7. The new roundabout confused many drivers.

8. Scientists are researching new fertilizers. 

9. His idea was considered. 

10. The letter had been delivered to the wrong address. 

You'll find the answers below.

You might find these pages helpful.

Quiz Answers

1. A

2. P

3. A

4. P

5. A

6. A

7. A

8. A

9. P

10. P

Elizabeth O'Brien from Grammar Revolution

If you don't want to teach or learn grammar by yourself, click here to see how I can help you.

I have gotten nearly all A's ever since I started following your lessons. Thank you.

-  Darlene, Student

If you want to teach or learn grammar the easy way, follow our step-by-step program that clearly lays everything out and allows you to move at your own pace. The Get Smart Grammar Program is presented in a logical sequence, so it's not an overwhelming mishmash of information. Just watch the videos and complete your assignments. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro!

The Get Smart Grammar Program
The Beginner's Guide to Grammar Ebook

Our Free Guide Gives You A Fun Way

To Teach And Learn The Basics v

Download Now
Elizabeth O'Brien

Elizabeth O'Brien is the creator of Grammar Revolution.

Her lessons are guaranteed to give you more confidence in your communication skills and make you smile. :)