French Passive Voice (la voix passive) | French Grammar Basics

How to form the passive voice in French?

In French, the passive voice is used to describe the action being performed upon the subject, rather than the subject performing the action. Here’s how to form the passive voice in French:

1. To form a sentence in the passive voice, start with the appropriate form of the verb “être” (to be) followed by the past participle of the main verb.

Example: “Le poisson est mangé par le chat.” (The fish is eaten by the cat.)

2. Make sure the verb “être” agrees with the subject in number and person. In French, verbs are conjugated to match the subject in person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and number (singular, plural).

3. If you want to specify the agent (the person or thing performing the action), add the preposition “par” (by) followed by the agent.

4. The passive voice is used less frequently in French than in English, and is often used in formal writing or when the focus is on the action being performed rather than the agent.

Example: “Le château a été construit au 15ème siècle.” (The castle was built in the 15th century.)

Practice forming sentences in the passive voice to get a feel for how it’s used in French. With time and practice, you’ll be able to express actions and ideas in French using the passive voice with ease.



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