Forming La Voix Passive with compound tenses (passive voice)

In English, an active sentence is turned into a passive one (the Passive voice) as follows:

The cat is eating the mouse.    ->    The mouse is being eaten by the cat.

Look at passive sentences in French, conjugated in compound tenses (Passé composé, Plus-que-parfait, Futur antérieur, Conditionnel passé):

Elles ont été surprises par cette révélation.
They were surprised by this revelation.

Il avait été averti par son supérieur.
He had been warned by his superior.

La loi aura été écrite par ses pairs.
The law will have been written by his peers. 

Des explications auraient été données par votre mentor.
Explanations would have been given by your mentor.

Notice that just like in English, the pattern is as follows:

- The object becomes the subject

- We use the auxiliary verb être conjugated in a compound tense*, followed by the past participle of the verb

- We use the preposition par to introduce the complement.

Note that the past participle agrees with the subject of the auxiliary être.
 

*In order to turn a sentence from active to passive voice, the tense of the auxiliary être must be the same as the tense of the main verb of the active sentence.
For example:

Mes amis ont regardé les oiseaux.  -> Les oiseaux ont été regardés par mes amis.
                 Passé Composé                              Passé Composé

Mon chien avait regardé les voitures.  -> Les voitures avaient été regardées par mon chien.             
                   Plus-que-Parfait                                  Plus-que-Parfait

Les enfants auront suivi le guide.     ->    Le guide aura été suivi par les enfants.                 Futur Antérieur                           Futur Antérieur

 

See also Forming La Voix Passive with simple tenses (passive voice) 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il avait été averti par son supérieur.
He had been warned by his superior.


Elles ont été surprises par cette révélation.
They were surprised by this revelation.


La loi aura été écrite par ses pairs.
The law will have been written by his peers. 


Des explications auraient été données par votre mentor.
Explanations would have been given by your mentor.


Q&A

Donna

Kwiziq community member

7 July 2018

2 replies

When do you use "ont été" without "par"?

Speaking about vegan activists this week, News in Slow French used these forms. I can't even find them on conjugation sites! Are they la voix passive? They don't use "par"...

"Boucheries ont été vandalisées ces dernier mois."

"Magazins ont été aspergés de faux sang."

D'autres ont eu brisées les vitrines."

Very confusing. Thanks for your help!

https://www.newsinslowfrench.com/slow-french/384/news/3

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

8 July 2018

8/07/18

Hi Donna,


It is the 'voix passive' . In those little snippets of information we are not told who did those deeds in the sentences, so no 'par' required. But the magasins all have endured these actions.


N.B. The final one should be "D'autres ont eu les vitres brisées". 


(Others had their windows broken.)


Hope this helps!

Donna

Kwiziq community member

8 July 2018

8/07/18

Thank you, Cécile.

Phillip

Kwiziq community member

14 June 2018

2 replies

This lesson and the quiz are wrong. It is using avoir not être.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 June 2018

14/06/18

Can you post an example of what you believe to be wrong?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 June 2018

14/06/18

Just on a hunch, mybe you believe this sentence to be wrong?


La souris a été mangée par le chat. -- The mouse was eaten by the cat.


Yes, there is a form of avoir in this sentence. It is needed to form the passé composé of être, which is a été.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

smriti

Kwiziq community member

26 May 2018

1 reply

Hi . Please confirm how to form the negation for passive form in compound tenses

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

27 May 2018

27/05/18

Hi Smriti,


It would be the same as with active form, the ne...pas is placed around the the auxiliary verb in the past tenses.


Elles n'ont pas été surprises par cette révélation.


Il n'avait pas été averti par son supérieur...


Hope this helps!


 


 

Brian

Kwiziq community member

9 May 2018

1 reply

It looks like there's a problem in the third box (second green one). The text makes no sense.

This doesn't make sense and it doesn't include any example!
"In order to turn a sentence from active to passive voice, the  tense of the auxiliary  be  must be the  Saami have the tense of the verb hand  of the active sentence. 
For example:"

Brian

Kwiziq community member

9 May 2018

9/05/18

Sorry - my browser was automatically translating from French to English.  When I told it to restore the original it all made sense!

Arman

Kwiziq community member

28 December 2017

2 replies

No micro quiz?

Hi, I can't seem to find the micro-quiz to any of these lessons? It's been like this for a week or so now.

Jim

Kwiziq community member

30 December 2017

30/12/17

I suspect that the problem relates to the device you are using?
It all works as it should on my PC with Windows 10 installed and the quizzes are there at the end of the section.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

16 February 2018

16/02/18

You'll be pleased to know micro kwizzes have been restored. You can read more here:


https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/blog/micro-kwizzes-back/

Don

Kwiziq community member

7 November 2017

6 replies

Nitpicking correction to the text

Where you write "In order to turn a sentence from active to passive voice, the tense of the auxiliary être must be the same as the tense of the main verb of the active sentence," shouldn't you instead say "the auxiliary VERB" or "the auxiliary VERB ÊTRE/AVOIR", especially since the examples that follow use "avoir" and not "être."

Jim

Kwiziq community member

7 November 2017

7/11/17

Hi Don,
In the examples, avoir is not used in the passive voice, it is in the active voice only.
As I read it no correction is required. Être is used in the passive voice.
Let's see if Aurélie is in agreement.
Hope this helps.
Alan

Chris

Kwiziq community member

7 November 2017

7/11/17

I concur. Only êtreq is used in the passive voice.

-- Chris.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

7 November 2017

7/11/17

Bonjour à tous !

Yes, the auxiliary verb for the passive voice is always "être" :)

Bonne journée !

Sue

Kwiziq community member

25 January 2018

25/01/18

First word in statement and answer vary between LES and DES.....very minor but gets marked as wrong!

Jim

Kwiziq community member

25 January 2018

25/01/18

Hi Sue,
Yes! They do vary because the active subject becomes the passive object and the active object the passive subject.
So the Articles change accordingly -- does this help to answer your point?
Regards,
Alan

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

30 January 2018

30/01/18

Bonjour Don and Sue !

@Don : I think your confusion comes from the fact that être itself takes the auxiliary avoir in compound tenses, but in these examples, it is indeed être which is used (and conjugated) in the passive voice :)


@Sue : Could you tell me what sentence it was ? I had a look through the questions, and I haven't found any where the article changes between the two voices.


Bonne journée à tous !

Steve

Kwiziq community member

21 October 2017

3 replies

Correct tense for "were welcomed"

"The students were welcomed by the headteacher this morning." Why is this translated by the passé composé rather than the imperfect tense?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

21 October 2017

21/10/17

Bonjour Steve,
Here is a very similar phrase using l'imparfait:
Les étudiants étaient accueillis par le directeur tous les ans. ---> The students were welcomed by the headteacher every year.
In this phrase, l'imparfait is used in the passive voice because it is a habit by the headteacher, he/she does this yearly.
Here is the lesson that explains this:
https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/my-languages/french/view/441?rts=%252Fsearch%253Fs%253Dl%252527imparfait
On the other hand, the phrase in question:
Les étudiants ont été accueillis par le directeur ce matin. --> The students were welcomed by the headteacher this morning. is a once and done phrase, hence the use of le passé composé in the passive voice.
J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet

Ron (also a non-native speaker)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2017

23/10/17

Just to expound a bit on Ron's explanation:

Take the sentence: "As he was welcoming the students, his phone rang." Here the welcoming part is an ongoing process during which the phone rings. Therefore you would use imparfait for the welcoming part and passé composé for the ringing:

Alors qu'il accueillait les étudiants, la téléphone a sonné.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

19 March 2018

19/03/18

If I may just add, Steve, the passé composé indicates an action in the past which is finished. The imparfait gives a sense of duration to the action and is often translated by 'was/were , being/doing ...'


In this case,


The headmaster welcomed the students in the morning ( active voice):


Le directeur a accueilli les étudiants ce matin.


or as in the text, 


The students were welcomed by the headmaster in the morning ( passive voice):


Les étudiants ont été accueillis par le directeur ce matin.


This is the same action viewed from different perspectives but in both cases the passé composé is used and we are assuming that the action has taken place earlier in the day.


Hope this helps!

Ian

Kwiziq community member

10 October 2017

2 replies

Hi, I am still having trouble with this one. Any help would be so very much appreciated.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

11 October 2017

11/10/17

Bonsoir Ian,
I have the same question that you posted. Slowly but surely, I am trying to learn these conversions in each tens/mood. I have found simply memorizing them and using them in the practice quizzes is the best way for me.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 October 2017

16/10/17

Hi Ian,

the rule, as explained in the corresponding lesson, is the following: put the verb "être" into the required tense, followed by the past participle of the verb (don't forget to match gender and number with the subject!). For example:

The apple is eaten. -- La pomme est mangée
The apple was eaten. -- La pomme était mangée (imparfait)
The apple has been eaten. -- La pomme a été mangée (passé composé)
The apple had been eaten. -- La pomme avait été mangée (plusqueparfait)
The apple will be eaten. -- La pomme sera mangée (future simple)
The apple will have been eaten. -- La pomme aura été mangée (future éxacte)

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Ian

Kwiziq community member

17 August 2017

1 reply

avaient été accueillies par is the correct answer.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

17 August 2017

17/08/17

Bonjour Ian !

Yes, it is the correct answer, as indicated in your Correction Board :)

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