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Passive Voice in Portuguese

Passive voice – as opposed to Active voice – highlights the recipient that is acted upon by the agent of the verb. Accordingly, the recipient of the action (be it a person or thing) becomes the sentence’s subject and is thus under the spotlight. Conversely, the active performer is relegated to second place. Read on.

Lesson #66 Past Participle - Portuguesepedia

Portuguese Passive-voice vs. Active-voice sentences

In Portuguese, Passive-voice sentences comprise the auxiliary verb ser – either in the Present, Past, or Future tense – followed by the Past Participle of the main verb.

Let’s take an example where we compare Active and Passive voice constructions:

Active voice
main verb (fazer)
O Paulo fez um telefonema.
Paulo made a phone call.

Passive voice
aux. verb (ser) > main verb (fazer)
Um telefonema foi feito pelo Paulo.
A phone call was made by Paulo.

As you can see above, in the Active-voice sentence, Paulo is the subject and the agent who makes a phone call (the action). 

In the Passive-voice sentence, on the other hand, the phone call itself becomes the grammatical subject of the sentence, and Paulo is the passive agent (and no longer the active performer).  

Again, the Passive voice implies a compound verb structure where the auxiliary verb ser is followed by the main verb  (fazer in the example above) in the Past Participle. 

Auxiliary verb – Ser indicates the tense

By default, the auxiliary verb – ser – sets the tense of the Passive-voice sentence. Here’s the verb ser conjugated in the Present, Past, and Future tenses:

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