In passive sentences, the thing receiving the action is the subject of the sentence and the thing doing the action is optionally included near the end of the sentence. You can use the passive form if you think that the thing receiving the action is more important or should be emphasized. You can also use the passive form if you do not know who is doing the action or if you do not want to mention who is doing the action.
[Thing receiving action] + [be] + [past participle of verb] + [by] + [thing doing action]
- The students (subject recieving action) are taught (passive verb) by the professor. (doing action)
- The dishes (subject recieving action) are washed (passive verb) by john. (doing action)
Simple Present : Once a week, the house is cleaned by Tom.
Simple Past : The car was repaired by Sam.
Simple Future (will) : The work will be finished by 5:00 PM.
Simple Future (be going to) : A beautiful dinner is going to be made by Sally tonight.
Present Continuous : Right now, the letter is being written by Sarah.
Present Perfect : That castle has been visited by many tourists.
Present Perfect Continuous : Recently, the work has been being done by John.
Past Perfect : Many cars had been repaired by George before he received his mechanic’s license.
Past Perfect Continuous : The restaurant’s fantastic dinners had been being prepared by Chef Jones for two years before he moved to Paris.
The English verbs let, make, have, get, and help are called causative verbs because they cause something else to happen.
Here are some specific examples of how causative verbs work in English sentences.
LET , permit something to happen
- LET + PERSON/THING + VERB (base form)
- I don’t let my kids watch violent movies.
- Mary’s father won’t let her adopt a puppy because he’s allergic to dogs.
- Our boss doesn’t let us eat lunch at our desks; we have to eat in the cafeteria.
- Oops! I wasn’t paying attention while cooking, and I let the food
- Don’t let the advertising expenses surpass $1000.
Remember: The past tense of let is also let; there is no change!
Note: The verbs allow and permit are more formal ways to say “let.” However, with allow and permit, we use to + verb:
- I don’t allow my kids to watch violent movies.
- Our boss doesn’t permit us to eat lunch at our desks.
MAKE , force or require someone to take an action
- MAKE + PERSON + VERB (base form)
- After Billy broke the neighbor’s window, his parents made him pay for it.
- My ex-boyfriend loved sci-fi and made me watch every episode of his favorite show.
- The teacher made all the students rewrite their papers, because the first drafts were not acceptable.
Note: When using the verbs force and require, we must use to + verb.
- The school requires the students to wear
“Require” often implies that there is a rule.
- The hijacker forced the pilots to take the plane in a different direction.
“Force” often implies violence, threats, or extremely strong pressure
HAVE, give someone else the responsibility to do something
- HAVE + PERSON + VERB (base form)
- HAVE + THING + PAST PARTICIPLE OF VERB
Examples of grammatical structure #1:
- I’ll have my assistant call you to reschedule the appointment.
- The businessman had his secretary make copies of the report.
Examples of grammatical structure #2:
- I’m going to have my hair cut
- We’re having our house painted this weekend.
- Bob had his teeth whitened; his smile looks great!
- My washing machine is broken; I need to have it
Note: In informal speech, we often use get in these cases:
- I’m going to get my hair cut
- We’re getting our house painted this weekend.
- Bob got his teeth whitened; his smile looks great!
- My washing machine is broken; I need to get it
GET, convince/encourage someone to do something
- GET + PERSON + TO + VERB
- How can we get all the employees to arrive on time?
- My husband hates housework; I can never get him to wash the dishes!
- I was nervous about eating sushi, but my brother got me to try it at a Japanese restaurant.
- The non-profit got a professional photographer to take photos at the event for free.
HELP, assist someone in doing something
- HELP + PERSON + VERB (base form)
- HELP + PERSON + TO + VERB
After “help,” you can use “to” or not – both ways are correct. In general, the form without “to” is more common:
- He helped me carry the boxes.
- He helped me to carry the boxes.
- Reading before bed helps me
- Reading before bed helps me to relax.