Unit 40. Passive (1) (be done and have been done)

Active and passive
Study this example:

In a passive sentence, if you want to say who did or what caused the action, use by:

  • This house was built by my grandfather. (= my grandfather built it)

  • Have you ever been bitten by a dog? (= Has a dog ever bitten you?)

    In passive sentences we use the correct form of be (is/are/was/were/has been, etc.) + the past participle:

    (be) done (be) cleaned (be) damaged (be) built (be) seen For irregular past participles (done/seen/written, etc.) see Appendix 2. For the passive of the present and past tenses see Unit 41.

    We use the base form (… be done, be cleaned, be built, etc.) after modal verbs (will, can, must, etc.) and some other verbs (for example: have to, be going to, want to).


  • The new hotel will be opened next year.

  • George might be sent to Venezuela by his company in August.

  • The music at the party was very loud and could be heard from far away.

  • This room is going to be painted next week.

  • Go away! I want to be left alone.

    There is a past form after modal verbs: have been done / have been cleaned, etc.:

    My bicycle has disappeared. It must have been stolen.

    She wouldn’t have been injured if she had been wearing a seat belt.

    The weather was terrible. The tennis match should have been canceled.

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