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 Forum 15 questions, 37 answers

Désolé. Ce que j'ai écrit c'était

Je suis désolé.  Puis-je utiliser au lieu de .  Evidement la langue français n'est pas ma langue maternelle.  La question demeure-puis-je utiliser j'aurais besoin de ressortir?

Asked 2 weeks ago
CécileKwiziq language super star

Je suis désolée, Donald, mais je ne comprends pas bien ce que vous demandez....

Désolé. Ce que j'ai écrit c'était

Je suis désolé.  Puis-je utiliser au lieu de .  Evidement la langue français n'est pas ma langue maternelle.  La question demeure-puis-je utiliser j'aurais besoin de ressortir?

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Je me change au cas où je devrais ressortir

Ça fait longtemps depuis que j'ai passé un examen au niveau C.  Donc j'ai écrit et .  Pourriez-vous m'expliquer la différence entre le deux?  Est-ce que j'ai tort?

Asked 2 weeks ago

Your question seems incomplete. Can you repost?

Salut Chris:

Vous avez raison. ma question était incomplet.  J'avais répondu avec   Je me demands si j'arrive à utiliser cette construction.  Ou c'était complètement mauvaise.  Merci d'avance.  Don

Je me change au cas où je devrais ressortir

Ça fait longtemps depuis que j'ai passé un examen au niveau C.  Donc j'ai écrit et .  Pourriez-vous m'expliquer la différence entre le deux?  Est-ce que j'ai tort?

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I beg your pardon. I see I'd got the tense wrong.

Asked 7 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super star
okay, thanks...

I beg your pardon. I see I'd got the tense wrong.

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Is it essential to change the "des pâtes" to "les pâtes" for the passive? That's what I got marked wrong for.

Asked 7 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super star
auto-corrected ...
OK, but you don't comment on the "les" and "des". Perhaps that's trivial?
CécileKwiziq language super star
Sorry Katie, I marked the wrong question . Can you give me the full context ?
I don't know how to retrieve it. But it was something like, "Il a fait des pâtes" to turn into the passive and I'd written something like "des pâtes ont été faites", but the correct answer was "les pâtes,,,"
CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Katie,

You can say both 'les' or 'des' in this context .

'Des' is more exact but sounds strange in the passive so that is probably why 'les' is marked correct.

Hope this helps!

Thank you! Yes, I did think "des" sounded odd in the passive...

Is it essential to change the "des pâtes" to "les pâtes" for the passive? That's what I got marked wrong for.

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Is it possible to say "La souris était mangée par le chat. -- The mouse was eaten by the cat."?

How is this sentence different from "La souris a été mangée par le chat. -- The mouse was eaten by the cat.", please? Thank you. This is something I get stuck on a lot.
Asked 8 months ago

To your first question: yes it is possible. The difference is that 

... était mangée is imparfait and

... a été mangée is passé composé. 

Thank you. But when would you use the imparfait and when would passé composé? What's the difference in meaning here between the two tenses? (Assuming you were the cat.)
Sorry, I meant: "But when would you use the imparfait and when would you use the passé composé?"

Usage of imparfait vs. passé composé is a separate topic in itself which I can't answer exhaustively in a short post. There are several lessons on this topic on kwiziq, however. I suggest you either browse the Library or progress through the lessons until the start to appear naturally in your lesson plan.

Or, alternatively, if you're impatient, why not try Google?

Thank you, Chris.

Is it possible to say "La souris était mangée par le chat. -- The mouse was eaten by the cat."?

How is this sentence different from "La souris a été mangée par le chat. -- The mouse was eaten by the cat.", please? Thank you. This is something I get stuck on a lot.

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What's wrong with La lettre a été envoyée par Einstein lui-même.

Asked 10 months ago
GruffKwiziq language super star

Hi Anne - on its own, there's nothing wrong it, but the kwiz question I think you're referring to asks for The letter had been sent by Einstein himself which requires the pluperfect tense.

Hope that helps!

Thank you.

What's wrong with La lettre a été envoyée par Einstein lui-même.

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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

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

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!

Thank you, Cécile.

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

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

Asked 0 years ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

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).

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

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

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

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

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!

 

 

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

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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:"
Asked 1 year ago
Sorry - my browser was automatically translating from French to English.  When I told it to restore the original it all made sense!

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:"

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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.
Asked 5 years ago
JimC1
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.
GruffKwiziq language super star

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

https://french.kwiziq.com/blog/micro-kwizzes-back/

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.

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DonC1

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."
Asked 7 years ago
JimC1
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
I concur. Only êtreq is used in the passive voice. -- Chris.
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour à tous ! Yes, the auxiliary verb for the passive voice is always "être" :) Bonne journée !
SueC1
First word in statement and answer vary between LES and DES.....very minor but gets marked as wrong!
JimC1
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
AurélieKwiziq language super star

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 !

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."

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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?
Asked 8 years ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

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!

RonC1
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)
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.

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?

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IanC1

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

Asked 8 years ago
ChrisC1Correct answer
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).
RonC1
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.

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

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IanC1

avaient été accueillies par is the correct answer.

Asked 10 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ian ! Yes, it is the correct answer, as indicated in your Correction Board :)

avaient été accueillies par is the correct answer.

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