Another three uses for passive voice | Learn English grammar

We've looked at three uses for passive voice in English, so here are three more uses in this video lesson...


In the previous video lesson we saw three different ways to use the passive voice in English. In this video, we're going to look at another three examples of how and when we use passive voice in English and then at the end of the video we'll do a quick practice quiz to see how much you've learnt. If you haven't seen the first video, then go back and see that one first. Don't worry, I'll wait for you!

OK, all ready? So the next example we're going to look at is when we want to talk about people in general. So rather than saying: "People speak English all over the world" it's much better to say: "English is spoken all over the world". 'English', the language, is now the subject of the sentence, and the verb 'speak' has now been changed into the passive using the auxiliary verb 'be' and the past participle 'spoken'. We don't need to say 'people speak'. That would just be silly and unnecessary. So, "English is spoken all over the world". Obviously we mean people. We don't mean fish or donkeys or bananas! Here's another example: "Computers are used every day". Again, in this example we don't need to say 'people use computers' - 'computers are used'.

Next example: Passive is also used in formal situations. The passive sounds much more formal than active voice. It sounds more impersonal and distant and this is also why it's commonly used in academic contexts as well or legal documents...or official signs and notices. So if you're writing an academic essay at school or university or at college it's more common to say: "The results of this research will be discussed in this essay", rather than "I will discuss the results of this research". "The results of this research will be discussed". The focus here is on the research and not on what I am going to do or what I am going to write. So you might also see the passive in official signs and notices as well. For example, in a library you might see a sign that says: "Books must be returned...on time" rather than: "You must return the books on time". By using the passive here it sounds less direct, less personal, more formal and more official.

The final example we're going to look at is when describing a process. How we do something. So imagine the process to describe wine is made. So rather than saying: 'a person picks the grapes, and another person presses the grapes, and another person puts the juice into a barrel', it sounds much better to say: "First the grapes are picked, then the grapes are pressed and next the grape juice is put into a barrel". It's shorter, it's simpler and it focuses on the grapes and the wine, rather than the person doing the action.

OK, so that's it. That's six uses in total over both videos showing us how to use passive voice in English. So let's do some practice. I'm going to give you a few example sentences, six example sentences and I want you to decide: How is the passive being used in each example? If you need some more time to think about your answer or to write your answer down, you can pause the video.

OK, that's the passive voice in English. If you're still a bit unsure, you can go back and watch the video again. The second time it will make more sense. Don't forget to like the video, share it with your friends and subscribe to my channel and go to and there you can find full courses to help you practise your English and to build your vocabulary. Keep practising your English and I'll see you in the next video!