Using the passive in IELTS


Passive sentence structures are commonly used in formal writing. They are also used to describe processes, as may be required in the Academic IELTS test.

The passive form can be used with most different tenses, though passive forms of the following tenses are not usually used:

  • Present Perfect Continuous
  • Past Perfect Continuous
  • Future Perfect Continuous

We form passive sentences using different constructions of the verb ‘to be’ plus the past participle. The charts on the following pages show how to form the passive in different tenses and gives examples of passive sentences in an IELTS context. There are short grammar exercises throughout the lesson and the final test will look at using passives in a Task 2 essay.

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