Spanish Grammar

Index

Spanish Grammar A1 ⮟
Ser and Estar in Spanish for Beginners
Está and Hay in Spanish to Express Location
The Present Indicative in Spanish
The verb querer in Spanish: how to use it
The Verb Gustar in Spanish
Demonstratives in Spanish and Adverbs of Place
Possessive Adjectives in Spanish
The Present Continuous in Spanish: Estar + Gerund
The Gerund in Spanish: Form and Basic Uses
Spanish Grammar A2 ⮟
Present Perfect Indicative in Spanish
The Past Simple in Spanish
The Preterite Imperfect Indicative in Spanish
Indicative past tenses in Spanish
How to Express Future in Spanish
How to use por and para in Spanish
Possessive Pronouns in Spanish
Spanish Grammar B1 ⮟
The Pluperfect Indicative in Spanish
The Future Simple in Spanish
The Conditional Simple in Spanish
The imperative mood in Spanish
The present subjunctive in Spanish
Verbal Periphrasis in Spanish
General Rules of Accentuation in Spanish
Spanish Grammar B2 ⮟
Advanced Uses of Conditional Simple
The Future Perfect in Spanish
The Conditional Perfect in Spanish
How do I use the past imperfect subjunctive?
The Pluperfect Subjunctive in Spanish
How to express probability in Spanish
Conditional Clauses in Spanish
Verbs of Change in Spanish
Reported Speech in Spanish
Spanish Grammar C1 ⮟
The passive Voice in Spanish
Adverbial Clauses of Manner in Spanish
Adverbial Clauses of Cause in Spanish
Clauses of Purpose in Spanish
Conditional Conjunctions in Spanish
Uses of the Pronoun SE with Syntactic Function
Uses of the Pronoun Se as a Verb Mark

The passive Voice in Spanish

Passive voice in Spanish is the relationship between the action of the verb and the subject of that sentence. If the subject does the action, it’s called “agent” and we need to speak in an active mode. On the other hand, if the subject doesn’t do but receives that action (then it’s called “patient”), then we’ll use the passive option. There are different types of constructions. Let’s see them:

Process passive voice in Spanish with the verb “ser”

This kind of passive is also called pasiva propia (actual passive). Using this kind of sentences we focus on the action, on the process. We answer the question “what is happening?”. It’s formed in this way:

Verb “ser” + past participle of the main verb.

For example: El libro ha sido escrito por el autor (the book has been written by the author).

Notice that the “agent” of that action is introduced by the preposition “por” (“by” in English). The patient subject (“el libro”) is the direct object in the equivalent active sentence and the agent (“el autor”) is actually the subject in the active one.

El autor ha escrito el libro. (The autor has written the book).

All the verbal tenses can be transformed in this way. The only requirement is that the active sentence must be “transitive” (with a direct object) in order to be changed into passive.

  • Present indicative: Yo enseño a los estudiantes = los estudiantes son enseñados por mí.
  • Future: Mis padres regalarán un libro a mi hermano = un libro será regalado a mi hermano por mis padres.
  • Preterite: leíste la novela ayer = La novela fue leída por ti ayer.

Now, let’s see another type of these constructions: the state passive.

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State passive voice in Spanish with the verb “estar”

When we use this construction, we emphasise the description of the event and its ending. Because of that, it’s more important the state of the subject. This is how we form it:

Verb “estar” + past participle of the main verb.

For example: El libro está escrito (the book is written).

As you can see, the passive meaning has an impact on the fact that the book is finally written, it’s finished.

As it happens with the “process passive”, all tenses might be used:

  • Present indicative: El ordenador está arreglado.
  • Future: La película estará rodada para el año que viene.
  • Preterite: La ventana estuvo rota durante tres días.

Finally, let’s see a kind of this voice that uses the pronoun “se”.

Reflexive passive with the pronoun “se”

This construction is actually an active sentence from a morphological point of view. However, it has a passive meaning. This variation, uses the reflexive form of a transitive verb in order to talk about an impersonal action; the agent of the sentence is not known because we are referring to general facts and it’s also used to give instructions. This is how we form the reflexive passive voice in Spanish:

The pronoun “se” + the main verb in the third singular or plural person.

For example:

  • En España se come muy bien = impersonal.
  • Se alquilan pisos = the agent it’s not relevant.
  • Para hacer una tortilla, se fríen las patatas = it’s an instruction.

It’s enough for today. Now that you can speak using different voices, as a ventriloquist, leave some comments below. Try to transform different active sentences into all these kinds of passive voice in Spanish. If you want to learn more about this topic, don’t hesitate and reserve lessons on Spanishviaskype.com.

Infographic about passive voice in Spanish grammar