The Passive Voice in Spanish

Sentences in Passive Voice (“Voz Pasiva”) are those expressed in terms of a subject receiving (not doing) the action of the verb.

There are 2 options for forming the Passive Voice in Spanish, both being equally valid:

  • Option 1: Verb “ser” conjugated + Past Participle of the verb
  • Option 2: Particle “se” + 3rd person of the verb

Let’s see each one in detail:


1. Verb “ser” conjugated + Past Participle of the verb

In this type of Passive Voice, the first word is the verb “ser”, conjugated for the right person.

The second word is the Past Participle of the main verb (Click here if you need to review the Past Participle form). We need to match the ending of the Past Participle to the subject, in both gender and number.

Examples

La canción es cantada = The song is sung

The verb “ser” has been conjugated in Present tense: “es”. Then, we have adapted the Past Participle of the verb “cantar” (“cantado”) to “cantada” so that it matches the gender and noun of “la canción”: feminine singular.

Los edificios fueron construidos por la compañía = The buildings were built by the company.

The verb “ser” has been properly conjugated in Preterite tense: “fueron”. Then we have adapted the Past Participle of the verb “construir” (“construido”) to “construidos”, so that it matches the gender and noun of “los edificios”: masculine plural. Also, in this case we have included the agent of the action, introduced by “por”.




2. Particle “se” + 3rd person of the verb

In this type of Passive Voice, the first word is always the particle “se”, without any variation.

The second word is the main verb, conjugated for the 3rd person singular or the 3rd person plural in order to match the subject.

Examples

La canción se canta = The song is sung.

We have conjugated the verb “cantar” for the 3rd person singular in Present Tense.

Los edificios se construyeron = The buildings were built.

We have conjugated the verb “construir” for the 3rd person plural in Preterite Tense.