Passive Voice in Finished-Result Verbs 

Some verbs refer to actions that produce a finished result. Examples are cut, build, pack and close. The past participles of these finished – result verbs, and some of their passive voice tenses, can have two meanings. They can refer to the action, or they can describe the result (rather like adjectives) Compare:

The theater was closed by the police on the orders of the mayor. (refers to the state the action of closing)

When I got there I found that the theater was closed. (refers to the state of being shut – the result of the action)

Because of this, present passive forms can have similar meanings to present perfect passives.


The vegetables are all cut up – what shall I do now? (= The vegetables have all been cut up.)

I got caught in the rain and my suit is ruined. (=…has been ruined.)

I think your ankle is broken. (=…has been broken.)

Active Verbs with Passive Meaning 

Not all active verbs have ‘active’ meanings; for instance, if you say that somebody receives something or suffers, you are really saying that something is done to him/her.


    My shoes are wearing out.

    She is sitting.

    Suddenly the door opened.

Confusing Forms

Students often confuse active and passive verbs forms in English. Typical mistakes:

I was very interesting in the lesson.

We were questioning by the immigration officer.

She has put in prison for life.

Mistakes like these are because:

Be is used to make both passive voice verb forms and active progressive tenses and past participles are used to make both passive voice verb forms and active perfect tenses.


            He was calling. (Active – past progressive)

            He was called. (Passive – simple past)

            He has called. (Active – present perfect simple)

Passive Voice: Advanced Points
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