How To Use Passive Voice in Spanish [+10 Examples & Quiz]

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In this Spanish grammar lesson, you will learn about how to use passive voice in Spanish.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • how to use the passive voice in Spanish
  • how the passive voice in Spanish is used in sentences
  • how you can quiz yourself on how to use the passive voice in Spanish
  • how you can practice with flashcards on how to use the passive voice in Spanish
  • how and why you should use the courses of Language Atlas to learn Spanish

By the end of the lesson you will know all about how to use the passive voice in Spanish!

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Passive Voice in Spanish

There are two kinds of passive voices in Spanish:

  • the incomplete voice
  • the complete voice

Of the two, the incomplete voice is used more often.

Both of these will be explained, however there will be a bigger focus on the incomplete voice as it is used more often.

The Incomplete Passive Voice in Spanish

Sentences in the incomplete passive voice show that an action is performed, however there isn’t a named agent performing the action.

Have a look at this English sentence:

The boy shoots the ball.

The agent in this sentence is the boy.

He is the one that shoots the ball.

Therefore, this sentence is in the active voice.

The ball has been shot.

In this sentence, we don’t know who has shot the ball.

There is no agent.

Therefore, this sentence is in the incomplete passive voice.

You can form the incomplete passive voice in Spanish by using the following construction:

  • se + verb conjugated in the él/ella/usted form or ellos/ellas/ustedes form

The verb can only be conjugated in the él/ella/usted form or in the ellos/ellas/ustedes form.

If it is singular you will use the él/ella/usted form, but if it’s plural then you will use the ellos/ellas/ustedes form.

Here are some examples:

present tense

Aquí se habla inglés.

English is spoken here.

preterite

Este cuadro se encontró el año pasado.

This painting was found last year.

imperfect

Cuando estaba en el instituto, no se podía beber agua en el aula.

When I was in high school, you couldn’t drink water in the clasroom.

future

Este proyecto se realizará el próximo verano.

This project will be done next summer.

The Complete Passive Voice in Spanish

Sentences in the complete passive voice put a big emphasis on the action and generally have a mentioned agent.

Even though you know who the agent is, the most important element here is the action.

Have a look at this sentence

La canción fue escuchada por todos.

The song was heard by everyone.

You really want to emphasise that the song was heard.

You can form the complete passive voice in Spanish by using the following construction:

  • ser + adjectival form of the past participle ( + por + agent)

You don’t have to use por + agent, but it is really common to do so.

Also, you may be wondering what exactly is meant with the adjectival form of the past particle.

Essentially, it means that you use the past participle, but the ending has to agree with the subject.

Here are some examples:

Un hombre ha sido atropellado por un coche que circulaba a gran velocidad.

A man was hit by a speeding car.

Este libro fue traducido por María.

This book was translated by María.

El edificio fue destruido por un terremoto.

The building was destroyed by an earthquake.

Gabriel fue seleccionado por el jurado como ganador del premio de poesía.

Gabriel was selected by the jury as the winner of the poetry prize.

Todos los testimonios han sido recogidos por los periodistas.

All testimonies have been collected by the journalists.

Please note the endings of the past participles.

Example Sentences on How To Use The Passive Voice in Spanish

This section of the lesson on how to say use the passive voice in Spanish is about seeing the idiom used in sentences.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding of the passive voice in Spanish through examples.

present tense

Aquí se habla inglés.

English is spoken here.

preterite

Este cuadro se encontró el año pasado.

This painting was found last year.

imperfect

Cuando estaba en el instituto, no se podía beber agua en el aula.

When I was in high school, you couldn’t drink water in the clasroom.

future

Este proyecto se realizará el próximo verano.

This project will be done next summer.

La canción fue escuchada por todos.

The song was heard by everyone.

Un hombre ha sido atropellado por un coche que circulaba a gran velocidad.

A man was hit by a speeding car.

Este libro fue traducido por María.

This book was translated by María.

El edificio fue destruido por un terremoto.

The building was destroyed by an earthquake.

Gabriel fue seleccionado por el jurado como ganador del premio de poesía.

Gabriel was selected by the jury as the winner of the poetry prize.

Todos los testimonios han sido recogidos por los periodistas.

All testimonies have been collected by the journalists.

Quiz Yourself on How To Use The Passive Voice in Spanish

At the end of every lesson you can do a small quiz.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want!

How to Practice With Flashcards for This Lesson

Using flashcards is an absolute necessity when it comes to learning a language!

It is the best way to memorize what you learn, you can personalize your progression because it adapts to your actions, and all flashcards have audio to improve your hearing and pronunciation.

Please read our article on how to learn a new language for more information on flashcards and the best way to learn a new language.

There are two ways to practice with Flashcards for this lesson.

  1. Anki
  2. The Flashcards in our Courses

Anki is a free software with which you can create and practice flashcards.

After you have downloaded Anki for free, you can get our Spanish C1 Anki Deck.

This Anki Deck contains 260 flashcards with which you can practice absolutely everything for Spanish C1.

All the flashcards have text, images, explanations, and audio.

You can also use our courses that have flashcards integrated alongside lessons with audio, quizzes and much more!

However, I am sure you are wondering, what are your courses, and why should I take them?

The Courses of Language Atlas

Have you ever wondered what the best way is to learn a new language?

I have been learning languages for over 20+ years and I was always frustrated with books, courses, and classes that I had tried.

It never really seemed to work for me.

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So I thought, “why not make something myself?“.

Using my experience and by doing research I created Language Atlas, a platform where people can learn French and Spanish in the most effective and efficient way.

I created free lessons and quizzes so that there would always be an easy and accessible way for people to learn or brush up on their language skills.

However, I also created courses that are much more comprehensive and in-depth.

These courses are easy to follow, clear, and allow you to become fluent in the most effective and efficient way.

The courses of Language Atlas have:

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