Grammar: The Passive (I)

The Passive (I)

To be + past participle

  • The door is always locked
  • The letter was posted yesterday


We use an active verb to say what the subject does:

  • The secretary typed the report
  • We wash the dishes every day
  • Darren played the game


We use a passive verb to say what happens to the subject. Who or what causes the action is often unknown:

  • The report was typed (By who? We don't know - it is unimportant)
  • The dishes are washed every day


However, if we want to say who does or what causes the action, we use "by".

  • The report was typed by the secretary
  • The game was played by Darren


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