The passive voice is a grammatical construction (a "voice") in which the subject of a sentence or clause denotes the recipient of the action (the patient) rather than the performer (the agent). In the English language, the English passive voice is formed with an auxiliary verb (usually be or get) plus a participle (usually the past participle) of a transitive verb. For example, "Caesar was stabbed by Brutus" uses the passive voice. The subject denotes the person (Caesar) affected by the action of the verb. The counterpart to this in active voice is, "Brutus stabbed Caesar", in which the subject denotes the doer, or agent, Brutus. A sentence featuring the passive voice is sometimes called a passive sentence, and a verb phrase in passive voice is sometimes called a passive verb.
There are now 188 passive voice worksheets to choose from in this section. They are all free and easy to print out for use in your classroom; you can even adapt them to suit your students better. This worksheet contains some clever exercises on passive voice but they are for a variety of learners levels so you should choose what will work best in your ESL classroom. Most of the material would be appropriate for pre-intermediate students but the exercises on the article “Einstein’s Chauffeur” are more challenging. The worksheet is very easy to make changes to so download it for free today to view its contents more thoroughly. There are also a couple articles about teaching passive voice that you should check out; they have even more lesson ideas and some tips to help you and your students.
Beginners will always start out with active voice sentences so they may feel like their world has been turned upside down when you start introducing the passive voice. Make your introduction interactive by eliciting what students already know so that they feel confident going into this lesson. Once you have completed your introduction and some practice activities, talk about how this can be useful and where students might encounter passive voice sentences. Give some examples and see if students can think of others. Most practice activities focus on rewriting active sentences as passive ones; this is something that students should be able to do after a short amount of time. It will take more time to get used to what the passive voice is than how to create sentences using it.