LEARNING THE FRENCH

PASSIVE VOICE
This learning guide is divided into different
parts with a quick recap after each topic.
1)

WHAT IS THE PASSIVE VOICE?

2...
1. WHAT IS THE PASSIVE VOICE?
Passive voice is used to show the subject is the person or thing
that the action happens to....
Quick tip:

In English, the passive voice is often avoided in writing and
is considered a bad way to write because of the ...
Quick tip (continued):

There are cases however when the passive voice cannot
be avoided, and that is when you do not know...
2. ENGLISH AND FRENCH PASSIVE
The French passive voice works in the same way as English.
English
To be + the past particip...
3. HOW TO FORM THE PASSIVE?
Here is a list of the conjugated forms of être which you can
use to change the tense of the pa...
3. HOW TO FORM THE PASSIVE? (CONTINUED)
SUBJUNCTIVE

CONDITIONAL

SIMPLE PAST

sois

Serais

fus

sois

Serais

fus

soit
...
The easy guide on forming the past participle of the verb
when using être
• If the infinitive ends with an -er, replace th...
To make the past participle “agree”, you add the following
endings:
MASCULIN ENDINGS

EXAMPLES

Singular

-

tombé
parti
d...
4. WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE?
The passive is not widely used in common discussion in
French. So if you find yourself...
4. WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE?
(CONTINUED)
1. Use c’est (or it’s in English)
Example:
Passive: The artwork was painte...
4. WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE?
(CONTINUED)
2. Use the indefinite pronoun ‘on’
Examples:
On leur a envoyé une lettre.
...
4. WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE?
(CONTINUED)
3. Use reflexive verbs
If you can remember the discussions on previous les...
A quick recap of this topic:
1. In the passive voice, the receiver of the action
becomes the subject, instead of the one d...
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Learning the french passive voice

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All about the french passive voice

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Learning the french passive voice

  1. 1. LEARNING THE FRENCH PASSIVE VOICE
  2. 2. This learning guide is divided into different parts with a quick recap after each topic. 1) WHAT IS THE PASSIVE VOICE? 2) ENGLISH AND FRENCH PASSIVE 3) HOW TO FORM THE PASSIVE? 4) WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE?
  3. 3. 1. WHAT IS THE PASSIVE VOICE? Passive voice is used to show the subject is the person or thing that the action happens to. Example between the passive and the active voice: PASSIVE ACTIVE I (the subject) was promoted (the passive verb) by my boss (the agent) My boss (the subject) promoted (the passive verb) me (the agent) See the difference? M E A N I N G
  4. 4. Quick tip: In English, the passive voice is often avoided in writing and is considered a bad way to write because of the following: It makes a sentence too wordy and seems to go around in circles. Example: The flowers on the table were left by Michael as a surprise to Jenny. You could have just said: Michael left the flowers on the table as a surprise to Jenny. It is more direct to the point and less confusing. It often sounds unclear because people are wired to think that an action is done by the subject. Twisting it the other way so that the receiver of the action becomes the subject would lead to some confusion. Q U I C K T I P
  5. 5. Quick tip (continued): There are cases however when the passive voice cannot be avoided, and that is when you do not know who the doer of the action is. Example: She was sent a love letter. Q U I C K Or when you want to put an emphasis on the thing or person doing the action. Example: The artwork was painted by a child. T I P
  6. 6. 2. ENGLISH AND FRENCH PASSIVE The French passive voice works in the same way as English. English To be + the past participle French Être + the past participle In French, however, the passive is not used as often as we do in English. It is usually used for formal speech or when speaking in old school literary tones. F R E N C H
  7. 7. 3. HOW TO FORM THE PASSIVE? Here is a list of the conjugated forms of être which you can use to change the tense of the passive sentences you are forming: PRONOUN PRESENT FUTURE IMPERFECT je (j') suis serai étais tu es seras étais il est sera était nous sommes serons étions vous êtes serez étiez ils sont seront étaient F R E N C H
  8. 8. 3. HOW TO FORM THE PASSIVE? (CONTINUED) SUBJUNCTIVE CONDITIONAL SIMPLE PAST sois Serais fus sois Serais fus soit Serait fut soyons Serions fûmes soyons soyez Series fûtes soyez soient Seraient furent Present participle: étant Past participle: été IMPERATIVE sois F R E N C H
  9. 9. The easy guide on forming the past participle of the verb when using être • If the infinitive ends with an -er, replace the -er with -é. Examples: donner becomes donné, tomber becomes tombé • If the infinitive ends with an -ir, remove the r at the end. Examples: finir becomes fini, partir becomes parti • If the infinitive ends with a -re, replace the -re with -u. Examples: attendre becomes attendu, descendre becomes descendu Irregular verbs in the past participle is the same in perfect tense. The past participle of the verb following être has to agree with the subject of the passive verb (not with the agent of the action). F R E N C H
  10. 10. To make the past participle “agree”, you add the following endings: MASCULIN ENDINGS EXAMPLES Singular - tombé parti descendu Plural -s tombés partis descendus FEMININE ENDINGS EXAMPLES Singular -e tombée partie descendue Plural -es tombées parties descendues F R E N C H
  11. 11. 4. WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE? The passive is not widely used in common discussion in French. So if you find yourself wanting to avoid using the passive voice, here are ways on how to do it: 1. Use c’est (or it’s in English) 2. Use the indefinite pronoun “on” 3. Use reflexive verbs F R E N C H
  12. 12. 4. WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE? (CONTINUED) 1. Use c’est (or it’s in English) Example: Passive: The artwork was painted by a child. L’oeuvre d’art a été peinte par a un enfant. Change it to: It’s a child who painted the artwork. C’est un enfant qui a peint l’oeuvre d’art. F R E N C H
  13. 13. 4. WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE? (CONTINUED) 2. Use the indefinite pronoun ‘on’ Examples: On leur a envoyé une lettre. Someone sent them a letter. On m’a dit que tu ne venais. They told me you weren’t coming. F R E N C H
  14. 14. 4. WAYS TO AVOID THE PASSIVE VOICE? (CONTINUED) 3. Use reflexive verbs If you can remember the discussions on previous lessons on this website, reflexive verbs in French appear with the pronoun se or the shortened form s’ before it. These action words are used when the subject is the same person as the object. To put it simply, it means “to____ oneself”. Example: Les melons se vendent 3 euros la pièce. Melons are sold for 3 euros each. F R E N C H
  15. 15. A quick recap of this topic: 1. In the passive voice, the receiver of the action becomes the subject, instead of the one doing the action himself. 2. The passive form of the verbs in French is formed by using the conjugated form of the verb être + the past participle. 3. The past participle of the verb following être has to agree with the subject of the passive verb (not with the agent of the action). 4. The passive voice is not often used in French. To avoid using it, there are alternative ways such as using the indefinite pronoun “on”, by using c’est, or through the help of reflexive verbs. S U M M A R Y
  16. 16. About Talk in French • Visit our website to get some free French Lessons
  17. 17. Sign-up to our newsletter • And get a free study guide to learn french
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