Forma Passiva in Italian

The Forma Passiva (Passive Form) is used to express an action experienced by the subject but performed by someone/something else. The subject is still the main character of the sentence but it doesn’t act, whilst in the Forma Attiva (Active Form) it performs the action.

Let’s see some useful examples:

Forma Attiva Forma Passiva
Anna legge il libro (Anna reads the book) Il libro viene letto da Anna (The book is read by Anna)
Il ladro ha rubato molti soldi (The thief stole a lot of money) Molti soldi sono stati rubati dal ladro (A lot of money has been stolen by the thief)
I miei amici da piccolo mi chiamavano Tino (When I was a child my friends used to call me Tino) Da piccolo venivo chiamato Tino dai miei amici (When I was a child I used to be called Tino by my friends)


If we turn an Active into a Passive form, the object of the Active Form becomes the subject of the Passive Form and the subject of the Active Form becomes what in Italian is called “agente” (agent) and is preceded by the preposition “da” (by).

As you can see in the previous examples, the rule to form the Forma Passiva of the verb is as following:

essere or venire + past participle of the main verb

Then, in the Forma Passiva we can use two auxiliary verbs, essere and venire: how can we choose the correct one?

We normally use essere with compound tenses (for example Passato Prossimo) and venire with simple tenses (for example Presente).

Why don’t you practice making some more Passive sentences?

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