Spanish Passive Voice (all tenses)
The passive voice refers to a sentence in which the subject receives the action. In other words, the subject is passive, or acted upon. For example: El libro fue leído por Juan. In this sentence, the book receives the action performed by Juan, the agent.
When we use the passive voice, the receiver of an action gets moved to the subject position. This is done in order to shift the focus to whatever the action is that is being done, rather than the person.
Spanish has two forms of passive: the passive with “ser” and the “se – pasiva.”
There are two formulas you can use to form the passive form in Spanish:
Ser + past participle + por + agent
Ser + third person.
In the following sentences, we will form the passive in Spanish using several tenses such as past, and present. Note that the person who does the action is not the subject anymore, and the recipient of the action (written in bold) has become the subject.
El libro fue leído por Emilio.
The book was read by Emilio.
Se establecieron las casas hace muchos años.
The houses were established many years ago.
The passive voice is formed with the correct form of “ser + past participle, and the past participle works as an adjective when is used in the passive voice. It is important that it agrees with what it is describing:
La pizza fue comida inmediatamente. The pizza was eaten immediately.
The preposition “con” (with) is often needed to introduce the grammatical agent of a passive sentence:
Fue golpeada con un martillo. She was hit with a hammer.
It is important that you are careful with the verb “estar” and past participles. These sentences look like passives but they do not have that function, as the past participle used acts as an adjective that refers to a specific situation:
La luz estaba encendida (semi passive) The light was on.
La luz fue encendida (passive) The light was turned on.
This happens because many past participles are used as adjectives. The following sentences are examples of the passive form being used in different tenses:
l auto fue robado (past) The car was stolen
El texto está siendo estudiado. (present continuous) The text is being studied.
El dinero me ha sido devuelto (preterit perf) The money has been given back to me.).
Ella puede ser arrestada. (future simple) She can be arrested.
Debería haber sido reparado. (conditional) It should have been repaired.
Esto es producido en Brasil (present simple) This is produced in Brazil.
Impersonal structures such as “It is said,” “It is thought,” and so on, are translated by
Se + active verb.
Se dice que él es un ladrón It is said that he is a robber.
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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.