Spanish Language Exercises


Passive I




The first thing we need to know about the passive sentence in Spanish is that it is practically inexistent in oral speech, and its presence in written language is mainly due to the influence of English. Thus, students of Spanish should avoid this first type of passive sentence. Nonetheless, it is important to know how passive sentences are formed.

In active sentences, we usually find three elements: a subject, a verb and an object. The subject carries out the action of the verb and the object receives it. For instance, in the following sentence,

Los estudiantes ocuparon las casas vacías durante la manifestación

estudiantes is the subject and casas is the object. The action is indicated by the verb ocuparon, which in this context means "to squat."

But sometimes we express the action focusing on the object instead. This can be for various reasons: one is because the subject is unknown, that is, we don't know or want to mention who carried out the action; another common reason is that we want to focus on the object, like in this transformation of the previous active sentence:

Las casas vacías fueron ocupadas por los estudiantes durante la manifestación

Thus, we can see in the above example how the object of the active sentence takes the role of the subject in the passive sentence. Notice also two other changes: first, the verb form now has two elements (fueron ocupadas); secondly, the original active subject estudiantes is now preceded by the preposition por.



Here are some more examples of active and passive sentences. Which one is active and which one is passive?:

1. La policía arrestó a muchos estudiantes durante la manifestación.

Active Passive

2. Muchos estudiantes fueron detenidos por la polícia durante la manifestación.

Active Passive

3. Al día siguiente todos los periódicos hablaron del incidente.

Active Passive


You now have a preliminary knowledge of the construction of the passive in Spanish.
Let's continue practicing.


More Practice

Using the previous example as a model, transform the following active verbs into passive verbs. Remember to maintain the correspondence between the verb tense (past, present or future) of the active sentence and that of the verb ser in the passive one.

Your incorrect letters (including extra letters) will be marked with an asterisk (*). This
exercise is case sensitive: use capital letters only when Spanish requires it. 

Review some participles:

1. El Gobierno construye nuevas viviendas.

Nuevas viviendas por el Gobierno.

2. Los estudiantes boicotearán la llegada del Presidente.

La llegada del Presidente por los estudiantes.

3. Los periódicos han investigado al polémico alcalde.

El polémico alcalde por los periódicos.


Some Links about Spanish Politics

Introduction | Passive I | Passive II | Passive III | Passive IV
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