passive with the past simple (Tip of the Week 49)

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Tip of the Week 49 from Nick Ponter of PS Sprachenservice is about the passive voice with the past simple.

Past Simple

The past simple is used to describe fully completed events in the past. We often use a time indicator (e.g. yesterday, last year, in 2014 etc.) but we don’t always have to mention it – important is that the context must be about this past time.

Active Voice

The active voice is used to describe who performs/does an action.

(e.g.  Alan wrote the accident report yesterday.)

Passive Voice

The passive voice is used to describe what happens to the object.  We are not interested in who performs/does the action.  In this example the accident report (object) becomes the subject of the sentence.

(e.g.   The accident report was written yesterday.)

How do we form the passive voice in the past simple?

The verb ‘to be‚ in the past form and the ‘past participle‘ of the verb.

singular:         was written

plural:             were written

question:        When was the accident report written?

postitive:        The accident report was written yesterday.

negative:        The accident report was not written yesterday.

Click here to take a look at our list of past participles: past participles.


To practice the passive voice with the past simple please visit PS Spachenservice’s E-Learning site at: