Spanish Passive Voice (present tense)

Beginner Spanish - Level A2

Overview

The passive voice (pasiva) emphasises an action or a condition. Who or what caused the action or condition is unimportant, unknown, or assumed to be general knowledge. Spanish has two ways of expressing passive sentences: the passive voice and the passive “se” (pasiva refleja) both of which are translated using the passive voice in English grammar.

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Spanish A2

 

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Passive Voice in Spanish

When form phrases in Spanish, we can use the active voice, where the subject performs an action upon an object, like 'A' threw 'B'. Or we can turn it around and use what we call the passive voice. 
The recipient of the action then becomes the subject. All that means is that the focus will be on B, and what happened to him/her/it. 'B' was thrown. If we want to, we can also add who did it: ‘B' was thrown (by A). But that is the point of the passive, that the object becomes the primary focus in a sentence.
 
Let’s look at an example of someone getting arrested. We can avoid the passive voice by using the ‘se pasiva,’ (‘se detuvo a Raúl’), the impersonal third person plural construction (‘detuvieron a Raúl’), or by keeping it active (‘la policía detuvo a Raúl.).
 

Ser + past participle

When we can’t avoid it, we use the passive voice by conjugating the verb ‘ser’ and adding a past participle. Let’s look at some examples in various tenses.

El primer acto siempre es seguido por el segundo acto. The first act is always followed by the second act.
Millie fue encontrada en el restaurante. Millie was found in the restaurant.
Durante su enfermedad, el gato era examinado cada día por la veterinaria. During his illness, the cat was examined every day by the vet.
La obra será grabada. The performance will be recorded.
En aquel zoo, los animales serían maltratados. In that zoo, the animals would get mistreated.

Ser

Now let’s look at forming the verb ‘ser’ in more detail. We’re going to give you the conjugations for the present, preterite, imperfect, future, and conditional tenses. That way you’re ready for anything, although ‘ser’ + past participle isn’t actually used much with the present or imperfect!

Present:

soy somos
eres sois
es son

Preterite:

fui fuimos
fuiste fuisteis
fue fueron

Imperfect:

era éramos
eras erais
era eran

Future:

seré seremos
serás seréis
será serán

Conditional:

sería seríamos
serías seríais
sería serían
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How to write in PASSIVE VOICE / VOZ PASIVA in Spanish (examples of Active and Passive voice)

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