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.

MORE EXAMPLES: 10 easy French sentences that uses the passive voice with their translation in English:

  1. Le gâteau est mangé par les enfants. The cake is eaten by the children.
  2. Les lettres sont envoyées par la poste. The letters are sent by the mail.
  3. Le musée est visité par des touristes. The museum is visited by tourists.
  4. La chanson est chantée par une belle voix. The song is sung by a beautiful voice.
  5. La porte est fermée par le gardien. The door is closed by the guard.
  6. Les livres sont lus par les étudiants. The books are read by the students.
  7. Le film est aimé par beaucoup de gens. The movie is liked by many people.
  8. Les devoirs sont faits par les élèves. The homework is done by the students.
  9. La ville est illuminée par des lumières. The city is illuminated by lights.
  10. La soupe est préparée par ma grand-mère. The soup is prepared by my grandmother.


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