A verb can have two possible passive voices when it takes two objects: a direct object and an indirect object. Normally, it is the indirect object (the first object that appears first in an active sentence) which becomes the subject of the passive sentence. We can however also use the direct object as the subject.


  • Active: The salesman showed him (indirect object) a new computer (direct object). / The salesman showed a new computer to him.
  • Passive: He was shown a new computer.
  • Passive: A new computer was shown to him.
  • Active: We lent Bob some money. / We lent some money to Bob.
  • Passive: Bob was lent some money.
  • Passive: Some money was lent to Bob.
  • Active: Jack sent Jill a birthday card.
  • Passive: Jill was sent a birthday card by Jack.
  • Passive: A birthday card was sent to Jill by Jack.