English Grammar lesson – Passive voice sentences in the past tense ( Learn English)
Welcome back with another passive voice lesson.
Well, in my previous lesson, we learned passive voice in the present tense. In this lesson,
we’re going to learn passive voice in the past tense. Well, in case you haven’t watched
the lesson, please do watch the passive voice in the present tense, okay. So now we follow
the same steps that we learned in the present tense. The subject becomes object, the object
becomes subject , the verb goes in the past participle form, uh you do not change the
tense, you do not change the meaning and of course you do not change the doer of the action,
okay. Now, in my first sentence here-the man cut down the tree, okay. Well, this is a past
tense because uh of the verb cut. The man cut, okay. But, a lot of people would assume
it to be the past tense because they imagine the tree is cut down, so the tree is already
down on the ground and they think it’s a past tense. Well, let the word ‘down’
not be the cause of assumption. It is the verb that is in the past tense because if
it, if it were a present tense verb, it would be ‘cuts’ right? The man cuts down the
tree and that’s a present tense. In this case, there is no option but it is the past
tense. The man cut down the tree. Well, let’s ask the question. Who is doing the action?
Who is the subject? In this case, we have ‘the man’. He is the doer of the action.
What is the action? Cutting. So we have the verb cut down the tree. But what is he cutting?
The tree, right? So, remember we learned he object is the person or thing on which action
is done upon, okay. So this is your object. So now, let’s quickly interchange it. You
have the object becoming the subject okay, and you have the subject becoming the object,
okay. Now remember, the verb always goes in the past participle form. In this case you
have ‘cut’ ‘cut’ ‘cut’. The verb remains ‘cut’ so ‘down’ remains the
way it is, it’s not a verb, okay. So, the tree cut down the man. Did the tree cut down
the man? Of course not. The tree cut down. Now, to keep it in the past tense, do not
forget to add the supporting verb. Why do we need a supporting verb? Because it helps
you to identify it’s a past simple, it’s a past continuous or a past perfect tense.
In this case, it’s a simple past tense. So, you will use the supporting verb ‘was’.
The tree was cut down by the man. You have maintained the tense. It’s a simple past
tense. You have interchanged the subject-object and object-subject and if you ask the question
who did the action, you have the doer has remained the same, okay. Despite being the
object now, but he is still the doer of the action and that is how we have a passive voice,
fine. Now let’s take a look at the next example, the boys were helping the wounded
man. Okay, so who is doing the action? What is the subject? You have the boys, okay. What
were they doing? They were helping. So the action was all in the past. So you have a
past continuous tense because you have were, were is past and helping is the verb in the
‘ing’ and that is how it is a continuous, okay. Now, who were they helping? The wounded
man. Oh well, ‘wounded’ means injured, okay. Someone who is really injured. So this
becomes your object, okay, because action is done on him. Now when we interchange it,
we make it subject-object object-subject, okay let’s do that. The wounded man, okay,
I’ve put in as subject. Let’s have the boys becoming the object, okay. Like I always
tell you ‘the verb’, the main verb goes in the past participle, helping is the verb.
So you have help helped helped. So you have the, you have the verb in the third form,
okay. Don’t forget your ‘by’. The wounded man helped the boys , by the boys –no it’s
not correct. Now because it is a continuous tense, you have verb with ‘ing’, you’re
going to maintain it in the passive continuous tense by putting, you’ve put this in the
third form, so you’re going to add some auxiliary verbs now. The wounded man, now
it’s one man, so you’re not going to put ‘were’ okay, no. You have to agree with
the subject, the new subject. So the wounded man was, it’s ‘ing’, so don’t forget
to add the being and the wounded man was being helped by the boys, right? You put the verb
in third form and you have your continuous tense here-was being helped by the boys, fine?
So this is how you make a passive past continuous tense. Now let’s take a look at the third
sentence, he had given me a bouquet, okay. So who gave me the bouquet? Who’s doingthe
action? He, okay. What’s the object? A bouquet? Is he doing action on the bouquet? Do you
think so? Ask the question-who is doing the action-he. What is the action- the verb. Now,
is he giving me the bouquet or is he giving something to the bouquet? So, action is done
on me. So definitely because he is giving me the bouquet , like he had given me, the
action is done on me. I am the receiver of the action, so ‘I’ become the object.
Again I tell you, a lot of people would assume bouquet to be the object, oaky. Probably because
it is the last word in the sentence, it is not so. Whenever you are confused, ask the
question-on who is the action done? And well, I have my answer here. So, definitely ‘me’
is the object, fine? So remember, let’s just work with the subject, verb, object.
So ‘me’ becomes ‘I’ in the subject, okay. Let’s put it, by him. Okay, he becomes
the object. Now, this is a past perfect tense ‘had given’, the verb is already in the
third form. So you put it in the third form here. It’s already there. You have to add
a supporting verb or an auxiliary verb to keep it in the past perfect tense when you
make a passive voice. I had been given, okay, a bouquet by him, okay. So here you have it,
subject-object object-subject, the verb is already in the third form and you have added
a supporting verb to keep it in the past perfect passive voice, okay friends. So now we’re
gonna take a look at how to make questions in the past tense, okay. So the first question-who
broke the jar? Okay, the verb is ‘broke’ and jar is the object okay. Now, ‘who’
is the subject because we are asking about the doer of the action. Now remember, when
you put ‘who’ in the passive voice, it is always better to start your question with
‘by whom’. Putting it in the end is not completely wrong, but honestly, this is the
more correct way to make it in the passive voice. By whom, now because this is a simple
past question, remember like I always tell you, put it in the third form. By whom was
because it’s the past tense. By whom was the jar broken? Okay. So you have ‘was broken’
you have added a supporting verb. But remember, in this case you split it, okay, because it’s
a question. So you have the question-by whom was the jar broken, okay? Now let’s take
a look at the next question-why were you doing the work? Now, you have ‘you’ as the subject,
and what were you doing? The work. So you have the object and you have your verb here
in the past continuous tense. So we follow the same rule, remember do not answer the
question. Let the question remain a question. Now why, the work is uh a noun that is uh
uncountable. You don’t say you have five works and because it is always in the singular,
you will use a singular supporting verb. So, why was the work, okay, you have an ‘ing’
being, don’t forget to put this in the third form. So you have the question- why was the
work being done by you? So always remember this, when you add a supporting verb in your
passive voice, ensure that it agrees with the new subject, okay. So if I say, why were
the work, it would be completely incorrect, fine. So, why was the work being done by you?
Now supposing the same question were in the past perfect tense, it would be-why had you
done the work, okay? So, you’re gonna follow the same rules. Because it’s a past perfect,
you have why had the work, okay. Why had the work been, you will add been, okay, anyway
it’s in the past perfect, the verb is already in the past participle form. So, why had the
work been done by you? This is how you have a past perfect passive voice question, okay
friends? Well, this brings me to the end of this lesson. I hope you enjoyed watching.
I have a small test to see how much you have understood. Do take the test and let me know
your scores. I’ll be back soon with a new lesson. Till then, take care and bye.