Using the Passive Voice with Different Tenses
We can use passive voice with most tenses.
To change the tense of a passive sentence, you change the form of the verb 'be'. The main verb in a passive sentence is always in the past participle form.
|Tense||Active Voice||Passive Voice|
|Present Simple||James writes the letters.||The letters are written by James.|
|Past Simple||James wrote the letters.||The letters were written by James.|
|Present Continuous||James is writing the letters.||The letters are being written by James.|
|Present Perfect||James has written the letters.||The letters have been written by James.|
|Future Simple (going to)||James is going to write the letters.||The letters are going to be written by James.|
|Future Simple (will)||James will write the letters.||The letters will be written by James.|
|Past Continuous||James was writing the letters.||The letters were being written by James.|
|Past Perfect||The scientists had found the cure, but it was too late.||The cure had been found, but it was too late.|
|Future Perfect||The scientists will have found a cure by then.||A cure will have been found by then.|
It is uncommon to use the passive voice with the following tenses:
- Present Perfect Continous;
- Future Continuous;
- Future Perfect Continous;
- Past Perfect Continous.
If we used the passive voice for these tenses, we would have two forms of the verb 'be' together. This makes the sentence awkward and confusing.
We make the present perfect continuous tense in the active voice like this:
subject + have + been + verb (-ing)
The present perfect continuous tense in the passive voice would look like this:
subject + have + been + being + past participle