What is Voice?
Voice is a grammatical structure that conveys information on whether the sentence subject is doing, or receiving, the action of the verb. Just like English, German has two voices:
Passive voice is something a child learns around age four or five; we switch from active to passive and passive to active without thinking about it. To be able to do this in German, you must know:
The German language has developed ways of using passive that are idiomatic.
➤ They have no exact word-for-word equivalent in English.
What can you make of these?
Es wird hier über Kommunismus diskutiert.
They're talking about communism here.
Freitags wird bei Klaus gefeiert.
On Fridays, there's a party at Klaus' place.
When in doubt, look for an "invisible es" as a subject.
In English, that's the generic 'they' or 'one' or 'there is' as a subject!
The tense of the sentence is marked in the werden; the past participle is a constant.
|Das Auto wird von der alten Frau verkauft.||present||The car is (being) sold by the old woman.|
|Das Auto wurde von der alten Frau verkauft.||simple past||The car was sold by the old woman.|
|Das Auto ist von der alten Frau verkauft worden.||present
|The car has been sold by the old woman.|
|Das Auto war von der alten Frau verkauft worden.||past perfect||The car had been sold by the old woman.|
|Das Auto wird von der alten Frau verkauft werden.||future||The car will be sold by the old woman.|
When there is a modal verb involved ("The car must be sold."), the modal still requires an infinitive at the end.
Das Auto muß verkauft werden. (=infinitive, in last position as usual.)
The car must be sold.
When the tense of the modal changes, the tense change is marked in the modal verb.
Das Auto mußte (=past tense) verkauft (constant, past participle) werden (infinitive).
The car had to be sold.