Suppose I say:

It is foolish to lick a metal pole.

Is this in the passive voice?

Would this sentence be better as:

To lick a metal pole is foolish.

How about:

Licking a metal pole is foolish.

  • 3
    None of your three sentences is passive.
    – rogermue
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 4:16
  • Passive: A metal pole being licked is foolish. For this case, all three of your suggested sentences are much better than the passive voice. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 5:54

1 Answer 1


The passive is very simple. You take the forms of to be + as special complement the past participle.

  • Active: The soldiers destroyed the bridge.

  • Passive: The bridge was destroyed (by the soldiers).

The passive conjugation is (I give only the forms of the third person singular):

  • Simple tenses

is destroyed, was destroyed, will be destroyed, would be destroyed.

  • Perfect tenses

has been destroyed, had been destroyed, will have been destroyed, would have been destroyed.

You can form continuous forms by using "being" before the past participle:

The bridge was being destroyed (when we arrived).


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