Passive Voice in Portuguese

Ejemplo con la Voz Pasiva en portugués.

Salve, friends? In our Dica today, we’ll learn about the passive voice in Portuguese.

The passive voice in Portuguese occurs when the object of the action becomes the subject of the sentence. Here in Brazil, it’s very common to find the passive voice in newspapers and magazines. The formation of the passive voice goes like this:

Formation of the Passive Voice in Portuguese

Formation of the Passive Voice in Portuguese. We use the verb to be + the participle of the main verb. The object, at the end of the sentence, becomes the subject of the sentence. Active voice example: Ele comprou o carro. Passive voice example: O carro foi comprado por ele.

Verbs in the passive voice

Are you still not sure on how to go from the active to the passive voice? Here is how you can do it in all verb tenses in Portuguese.

Active voice Passive voice
Ele este livro. O livro é lido por ele.
Ele lia este livro. O livro era lido por ele.
Ele leu este livro. O livro foi lido por ele.
Ele lerá este livro. O livro será lido por ele.
Ele leria este livro. O livro seria lido por ele.
Ele está lendo este livro. O livro está sendo lido por ele.
Ele estava lendo este livro. O livro estava sendo lido por ele.
Ele tem lido este livro. O livro tem sido lido por ele.
Ele tinha lido este livro. O livro tinha sido lido por ele.
Ele quer que eu leia este livro. Ele quer que o livro seja lido por mim.
Ele quis que eu lesse este livro. Ele quis que o livro fosse lido por mim.
Eles entenderão tudo quando lerem o livro. Eles entenderão tudo quando o livro for lido.

Let’s see some examples of how to change from the active voice to the passive voice in Portuguese:

Examples using the Passive Voice in Portuguese

Eles compraram a casa.
A casa foi comprada por eles.
They bought the house.
The house was bought by them.
Escreveram uma carta.
Uma carta foi escrita.
They wrote a letter.
A letter was written.
Eu fiz o exercício.
O exercício foi feito por mim.
I did the exercise.
The exercise was done by me.
Maria abriu a loja.
A loja foi aberta pela Maria.
Maria opened the store.
The store was opened by Maria.
O diretor assinou o documento.
O documento foi assinado pelo diretor.
The director signed the document.
The document was signed by the director.
Nós não fizemos nada.
Nada foi feito por nós.
We didn’t do anything.
Nothing was done by us.


Special Verbs

There are verbs in Portuguese that have more than one participle form. Be careful not to get them mixed up. The passive voice of those verbs are irregular. Take a look:

Verb Past Participle Passive Voice Translation
Prender prendido preso(a) arrested/trapped
Aceitar aceitado aceito(a) accepted
Acender acendido aceso(a) lit / turned on
Entregar entregado entregue delivered
Limpar limpado limpo(a) cleaned
Matar matado morto(a) killed
Pegar pegado pego(a) caught/taken
Soltar soltado solto(a) released

Examples with special verbs

O papagaio foi preso na gaiola.
The parrot was trapped in the cage. 

O pedido de casamento foi aceito.
The marriage proposal was accepted.

O cigarro foi aceso.
The cigarette was lit

A carta foi entregue.
The letter was delivered.

O quarto foi limpo.
The room was cleaned.

O homem foi morto.
The man was killed.

O celular foi pego antes de cair.
The cellphone was caught before it fell.

As pombas foram soltas no casamento.
The doves were released at the wedding.

Passive voice with Auxiliary Verbs

We can also make the passive voice with some auxiliary verbs. Take a look at this list with them.

Poder Can
Precisar Need
Dever Must
Ter que Have to
Ter de Have to

Now, let’s put them in practice with some examples:

Não podemos pagar a conta.
A conta não pode ser paga.
We can’t pay the bill.
The bill cannot be paid.
Eu preciso ligar o computador.
O computador precisa ser ligado.
I need to turn on the computer.
The computer needs to be turned on.
Eles têm de fazer as compras.
As compras têm de ser feitas por eles.
They have to do the shopping.
The shopping has to be done by them.
Tenho que escrever o e-mail hoje.
O e-mail tem que ser escrito hoje.
I have to write the e-mail today.
The e-mail has to be written today.
Ela deve viajar antes de dezembro.
A viagem deve ser feita antes de dezembro.
She must travel before December.
The trip must be done before December.

Quick reminder: Remember that when we are using the passive voice  it is not always necessary  to explain who the passive agent is (the one that “does” the action). You can specify it or not. The agente da passiva is always preceded by the preposition por.

Passive voice + Se

Did you think that was all? Not yet, my friend! We still have one more possibility to use the passive voice. We can create sentences using a verb in the 3rd person in the plural or singular (ele/ela – eles/elas)  + se. 

Imagine you want to find a good party in Rio, you can post this on your social media:

Procura-se festa no Rio!
Looking for a party in Rio!

This means that someone is looking for a party, but we don’t know who. So this is another great way to use the Portuguese passive voice. This structure is often used advertisements.

If you have ordered some books and they’ve already arrived, you can say:

Entregaram-se os livros.
The books were delivered.

If you want to learn more about the passive voice with se, click here.

To sum up, let’s practice a little?

Now it’s your turn!

Put the sentences below into the passive voice in Portuguese:

  1. Ele assistiu o programa.
  2. A presidente da empresa leu o relatório.
  3. Eu não cobrei as taxas extras.
  4. Fizemos o que foi possível.
  5. Maria tirou o visto de estudante para o Brasil.
  6. Ainda não recebemos nenhuma informação.
  7. Lamentei que não entendesse minha situação.
  8. Vocês entenderam o problema quando leram a carta.
  9. Não preparamos nada para a festa.
  10. Os médicos diagnosticaram o problema.
  11. Ninguém visitou a praia hoje.
  12. David fez o CELPE-Bras.

Finally you know how to use the passive voice in Portuguese. Did you know that the RioLIVE! Activities happen everyday? It’s a great way to practice Portuguese and get to know Rio de Janeiro! Check out our pictures on Instagram to see more about it.

A big hug from the Rio & Learn team!
See you next time!

Ler esta Dica em Português  Leer esta Dica en Español
Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Pluperfect of regular verbs in Portuguese
Simple past of ser and ir in Portuguese
Conjugation of the verb Ser in Portuguese
Present Perfect in Portuguese



  1. O programa foi assistido por ele.
  2. O relatório foi lido pela presidente da empresa.
  3. As taxas não foram cobradas por mim.
  4. O possível foi feito por nós.
  5. O visto de estudante para o Brasil foi tirado por Maria.
  6. Nenhuma informação foi recebida ainda.
  7. Lamentei que não tivesse entendido a situação.
  8. O problema foi entendido quando eles leram a carta.
  9. Nada foi preparado para a festa.
  10. O problema foi diagnosticado pelos médicos.
  11. A praia não foi visitada hoje.
  12. O CELPE-Bras foi feito pelo David.

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