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Active voice and passive voice in Italian

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Some type of verbs in Italian can present both an active and a passive voice (voce passiva and voce attiva).

These verbs are in particular the transitive ones (that is, verbs which always require a subject and at least an object).

Active in Italian

The active form of the transitive verbs presents the following structure:

  • Subject + Verb + Object.

The main function of the active voice is to point out who is acting and which is the direct object of the verb.

enlightenedRemember! The verbs with the active voice have the auxiliary avere (to have) for the compound tenses.

 

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Example of the active voice

 

Simple tense: present indicative

Luigi mangia la pera. (Luigi eats the pear)

Compound tense: present perfect indicativeLuigi ha mangiato la pera. (Luigi ate the pear)

 

Passive in Italian

The Italian passive voice (voce passiva) aims to focus on the action conveyed by the verb and neither on the subject nor on the object.

Usually, the structure of the passive voice follows the same rules:

  • the subject of the active sentence becomes the agent of the passive one;
  • the object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive one.

 

Example of the passive voice

 
Simple tense: present indicativeLa pera è mangiata da Luigi. (The pear is eaten by Luigi)
Compound tense: present perfect indicativeLa pera è stata mangiata da Luigi. (The pear has been eaten by Luigi)

 

Conjugation of the passive voices

The passive voice, instead, conjugates verbs using:

  • the verb essere + the past participle of the specific verb in simple tenses;
  • the compound form of essere (essere stato) + the past participle of the specific verb for the compound tenses.

enlightenedRemember! In the passive form, the past participle both of the verb (for the simple tenses) and of essere (for the compound tenses) has to follow the agreement with the subject of the sentence for number and gender.

Below, you will find the conjugation tables for the verb vedere (to see).

Indicative mood

 
 PresentPresent PerfectImperfectPast PerfectAbsolute PastPreterite PerfectFuture SimpleFuture Perfect
Iosono vistosono stato vistoero vistoero stato vistofui vistofui stato vistosarò vistosarò stato visto
Tusei vistosei stato vistoeri vistoeri stato vistofosti vistofosti stato vistosarai vistosarai stato visto
Egli / ellaè vistoè stato vistoera vistoera stato vistofu vistofu stato vistosarà vistosarà stato visto
Noisiamo vistisiamo stati vistieravamo vistieravamo stati vistifummo vistifummo stati vistisaremo vistisaremo stati visti
Voisiete vistisiete stati vistieravate vistieravate stati vistifoste vistifoste stati vistisarete vistisarete stati visti
Essi / essesono vistisono stati vistierano vistierano stati vistifurono vistifurono stati vistisaranno vistisaranno stati visti

 

Subjunctive mood

 
 PresentPastImperfectPresent Perfect
(Che) iosia vistosia stato vistofossi vistofossi stato visto
(Che) tusia vistosia stato vistofossi vistofossi stato visto
(Che) egli / ellasia vistosia stato vistofosse vistofosse stato visto
(Che) noisiamo vistisiamo stati vistifossimo vistifossimo stati visti
(Che) voisiate vistisiate stati vistifoste vistifoste stati visti
(Che) essi / essesiano vistisiano stati vistifossero vistifossero stati visti

 

Conditional mood

 
 PresentPast
Iosarei vistosarei stato visto
Tusaresti vistosaresti stato visto
Egli / ellasarebbe vistosarebbe stato visto
Noisaremmo vistisaremmo stati visti
Voisareste vistisareste stati visti
Essi / essesarebbero vistisarebbero stati visti

 

Infinitive mood

 
PresentPast
Essere vistoEssere stato visto

 

Imperative mood

 Present
Io -
Tusii visto
Egli / ellasia visto
Noisiamo visti
Voisiate visti
Essi / essesiano visti

 

Participle mood

PresentPast
-visto

 

Gerund mood

PresentPast
Essendo vistoEssendo stato visto

 


Exercises

  1. Fill in the blanks with the correct passive form of the following simple tenses in Italian
  2. Fill in the blanks with the correct passive form of the following compound tenses in Italian

Fill in the blanks with the correct passive form of the following simple tenses in Italian


Fill in the blanks with the correct passive form of the following compound tenses in Italian


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