Lesson Four

The Past Passive

Subject + (be = was or were) + past participle

I was + __________
We were + __________
You were + __________
You were + __________
He was + ___________
They were + __________
She was + __________
It was + __________
 * Notice that the verb "be" (was or were) indicates that this is in the past tense.


Past Tense, Passive Voice

I was paid last week.

(The past participle for "pay" is "paid")

pay / paid / paid


You were given a reading assignment in English.

(The past participle for "give" is given)

give / gave / given


He was given a big bowl of rice. The waitress gave it to him.

(Both sentences are in the past tense)

man eating rice

She was told to finish her work. Her boss told her to finish it.

tell / told / told

It was made by Sony.
We were both paid last week.



You and I = We

You were given some money to see a movie.
They were served by the waitress.

Practice listening to the

past passive in

The Listening Lab

girl listening to music

Watch this video for additional instruction:


Do you notice the way the verb "be" changes? Look again in the chart below. The main verb "give" is in the passive voice, past tense.
I was given
We were given
You were given
You were given
He was given
She was given
They were given
It was given

The main verb is "give"

give / gave / given

I was gave something to eat. (incorrect!)

They were gave some work to do. ( incorrect!)

She was given some help. (correct!)

Are you ready for a quiz? Click here.

Next: Lesson Five

future tense, passive voice